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Nov 03 2023

The purrfect prescription: Health benefits of owning a cat

November 3, 2023  /   Mental Health  /   4-minute read

If you’re a cat person, you’re familiar with the serene calm that envelops you when your cat purrs on your lap. Surprisingly, the benefits we get from our feline friends go well beyond mere affection. Owning a cat comes with tangible health benefits that extend far beyond companionship. From stress reduction to allergy management, these independent creatures have a remarkable ability to enhance our well-being.

Physical health benefits of cat ownership

Owning a cat isn’t just about the emotional bond; it also brings significant physical health advantages. Numerous studies have shown the correlation between owning a cat and improved physical well-being.

Heart health

There’s scientific evidence behind the calming effect cats have on our hearts. Cats have been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology demonstrated that having cats around significantly reduces the chances of dying from heart attacks or strokes. Spending time with our feline companions often leads to reduced stress levels.


Contrary to popular belief, having a cat around may not trigger allergies. Early exposure to cats can help manage allergies later in life. A study published in the Clinical & Experimental Allergy Journal revealed that spending time with cats during infancy decreases the likelihood of developing allergies. Furthermore, cats are associated with a reduced risk of minor health issues such as headaches and hay fever, making them nature’s little healers.

Mental health benefits of cat ownership

The deep bond that many people have with their cats is undeniable. Cats can provide companionship, support, and unconditional love, which can benefit people with mental health conditions. 

Beyond providing emotional support during challenging times, cats play a significant role in promoting psychological well-being. For individuals experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, or even autism, the presence of a cat can offer comfort and security.


The benefits of owning a cat extend far beyond companionship. One of the primary advantages is stress reduction. Petting a cat has a calming effect, triggering the release of oxytocin, commonly known as the “love hormone.” This chemical response plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety and stress, fostering feelings of trust and empathy. Studies have shown that cat owners have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. On a difficult day, a furry companion can make all the difference.

Anxiety and depression

Cats are exceptional companions, particularly for individuals living alone or going through challenging times. Owning a cat offers companionship that reduces feelings of loneliness. They possess a unique ability to sense when their owners need comfort and support, providing a listening ear or a gentle paw to hold.


A 2022 study revealed that owning a pet was associated with lower levels of social isolation. The stable routine, constant companionship, and distraction provided by cats during moments of low moods can help alleviate symptoms of depression. There’s undeniable power in those comforting snuggles.

Social Interaction and Autism

For individuals on the autism spectrum, owning a cat can be particularly beneficial. Cats’ remarkable ability to understand nonverbal cues improves social interactions for those who struggle with this skill set. A study conducted in 2023 even revealed that autistic children who owned cats displayed more prosocial behaviors, exhibiting more significant consideration for others’ feelings and finding it easier to share their belongings.

Jack Jack the cat
Jack Jack the cat

It’s good to be a cat person

Cats are undoubtedly valuable. These furry companions bring a multitude of physical and mental health benefits. Consider getting a cat for cuddles, stress relief, and overall well-being.

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