Cats may be healthy choice for some

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cats, like any other pet, are expensive. The vet care, cat food, litter box, litter, and toys all add up to a small fortune over the life of a cat. While cats can be hard on the wallet, there is some medical evidence that says that cats are actually good for your health.

A study conducted earlier this year by the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota shows that cat owners are less likely to die of heart attacks or other cardiovascular diseases than people who never had cats.

Those who never owned a cat (about half of the study participants) were 40 percent more likely to die of heart attacks and 30 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke or chronic heart disease, than those who had or have had cats.

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This study did not find similar benefits for dog owners. The researchers are working to find if cat ownership could be used as therapeutic intervention for those who are at a high risk for cardiovascular events. Researchers believe that cats give people someone to love them. Basically, if we love and we know we’re loved, we are going to live longer.

Not only are cats good for your physical health, they are finding they are also good for your mental health. When you come home from a bad day, all it takes is for Felix to jump and curl up in your lap, to help you calm down.

They say that cats give you an external focus, so that you are not just dwelling on your problems.

The researchers say that even if you talk your problems over with your friends and family, it will not have the same calming effect that your cat does.

They will keep it stirred up in your mind, while your cat just looks and listens.

Better physical health and better mental health has to equal financial savings, so you win all the way around.

Studies have even shown that cats will make your children healthier. It has been shown that children who are exposed to cats and dogs at a young age are less likely to develop pet allergies later in life.

On the flip side, adults who were not exposed to pets while growing up and who suddenly are introduced to cats and dogs are more likely to develop pet allergies.

But according to the same studies, pet allergies are not all that common. Only 2 to 15 percent of Americans are allergic to cats. People who are allergic to cats actually are allergic to a protein in cat’s sweat glands that’s secreted through their salvia.

It is very light and sticky and that’s why it really gets on people’s clothing.

From lowering your heart attack risk, keeping you happy, boosting your financial well being, to keeping you allergy free, cats make the world a better place. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop