Cats can make great friends and companions. And they’re hilarious. You can laugh endlessly at some of the cat videos on YouTube. They seem to have almost taken over the internet in the last few years, especially with the rise of Grumpy Cat. We tend to think of cats as cute little furry things, often unaware of the fact that cats are some of the most powerful healers out there.
Scientific studies have shown time and time again that cats are more than just good pets. They are extremely therapeutic, and may actually be a good form of medicine for people suffering from heart conditions. Did you know that owning a cat can reduce your risk of a heart attack? The finding was the main result of a 10 year study of more than 4,000 Americans by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis.
This was due to a lower heart rate, lower stress levels, and lower blood pressure. Lowering your risk of a heart attack by 30% is no joke. This number gives holistic healers and even heart medications a run for their money.
In addition to the improved heart health, cats also cause a release of oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is the feel-good chemical associated with the feeling of love, and is extremely healing to the body. Serotonin and dopamine are also released in the brain as you are playing with your cat, which reduces stress and puts the body into a harmonious state and stabilizes your immune system.
Cats, because of the impact they have on our oxytocin levels, literally make us more empathetic and kind people. I personally find that animals are spiritually healing for me. When you interact with them, they don’t judge you, interrogate you, belittle you, or comment on you. They simply provide you love and affection. Because we know that they aren’t going to judge us, we experience no anxiety when we are around them. In fact, the part of our brain that activates when we are self-conscious or socially anxious is completely relaxed when we interact with animals.
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