People who love cats — especially women — are often given a hard time for their feline love. While dogs are considered "man's best friend" and are often symbolized as cute and fluffy and loyal, cats tend to get a bad rap. Cats are considered aloof, bored, and basically jerks. There is often a stigma surrounding women who enjoy having cats as pets, especially if those women are single, where they are referred to as 'crazy cat ladies.' Cat ladies everywhere can now feel vindicated because a study shows that owning a cat can actually be good for your health.
A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology found that owning a cat could actually reduce your risk of death caused by myocardial infarction (MI), cardiovascular diseases (MI or stroke), and stroke. "A decreased risk for death due to MI and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) was observed among persons with cats," the study concluded. "Acquisition of cats as domestic pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals."
If that's not enough to convince you that you need a kitty in your life, there is countless other research that shows how cats can benefit their owner's health. Dr. Melanie Greenberg is a licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Stress-Proof Brain and she explained to NBC News that owning a cat can help reduce stress. Not only does petting your cat help your body to release oxytocin, but it also helps reduce feelings of loneliness. “People are a little more disconnected these days,” Greenberg explained. “And research shows that loneliness is a big factor for all kinds of diseases."
Another study suggested that children who are exposed to cats during their first year developed a greater tolerance for the pet and developed fewer allergies when they became teens. “The theory is that by giving the immune system something natural to work on, it develops in a healthy, normal manner and isn’t always overreacting to non-dangerous stimuli,” explained veterinarian, Dr. David Haworth.
While there are countless benefits to owning both dogs and cats people need to start giving our feline friends the respect they deserve!