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Article Details Benefits of Cat Ownership

I can't resist linking to an article from USA Today. The article touches on my all-time favorite topic: the many benefits pet owners derive from...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Nov 5th 2010


I can’t resist linking to an article from USA Today. The article touches on my all-time favorite topic: the many benefits pet owners derive from their furry friends. This article focuses on cats. Here’s a representative quote.

Research shows that being able to care for a pet improves our morale, helps validate us and encourages us to take care of ourselves, says Rebecca Johnson, director of the University of Missouri’s Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. The body of research is leading more retirement communities and universities to roll out the welcome mat for pets.

Is one pet better for you than another? A cat can’t make you healthier by begging with leash in mouth to go out for a jog, but a purr can lower blood pressure and quiet a stressed-out brain, research shows.

And they insist on compassion. They’re enforcers, Johnson says. “A dog will let you bang it on the head and still love you. A cat won’t do that. Children have to learn to be gentle to cats or the cat will go away.”

Johnson’s last point definitely takes me back to my childhood. I wanted only a few things as a child–to be a fireman or construction worker, and to have the cat sit on my lap. The fireman and construction worker goals seemed reachable, but the last one was tough. When at last I developed the patience to sit still and wait for the cat to come to me I finally was rewarded.