Close up of person's eye and cat's eye, side by side

Is Owning a Cat Good for Your Health?

Those of us who own and love cats don’t need researchers to affirm the value of our cherished pets in our lives. Still, it’s gratifying to find so many science-backed videos and articles to confirm what we already know about the many benefits of cat ownership.

Among the most amusing research-based videos is “Prescription Cat” from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute’s Pet Effect campaign

According to HABRI, “Scientific research demonstrates that cat ownership can confer benefits to both mental and physical health in their owners. Specifically, cat ownership can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and improve heart health, alleviate social isolation and loneliness, and reduce stress. In children, living with cats can strengthen immunity in the first year of life, and a pet cat can help those with autism and their families.”

“The Scientific Benefits of Owning a Cat: 5 Reasons to Welcome a Feline Friend” from the Pet in the Net YouTube channel includes links to research studies supporting each of the benefits.

From the YouTube channel AnimalWised, “5 Benefits of Having a Cat for Health and Happiness” also cites research to back each of the benefits discussed.

In “10 Scientific Benefits of Being a Cat Owner,” published by Mental Floss, those benefits include:

  1. Owning a cat is better for the environment than owning a dog.
  2. They’ll help you cope with loss and pain.
  3. They may help you find a significant other.
  4. Cat owners are smart.
  5. You’ll have a healthier heart.
  6. Cats fulfill your need for companionship.
  7. Cats can tell you (and others) a lot about your personality.
  8. You’ll sleep better.
  9. Cat ownership could mean fewer allergies.
  10. Cats can quite literally save your life.

The All Cats YouTube channel has compiled this same information in a video, “10 Scientific Benefits Of Being A Cat Owner,” covering all 10 benefits in less than 9 minutes.

“The Psychological Benefits Of Owning A Cat” on the Animal Discovery YouTube channel focuses on mental health benefits of cat ownership.

In “Americans Note Overwhelming Positive Mental Health Impact of Their Pets in New Poll; Dogs and Cats Equally Beneficial,” the American Psychiatric Association reported owners of both dogs and cats said their pets offer many mental health benefits. 

In response to the APA’s March 2023 Healthy Minds Monthly Poll of 2,200 adults, 86% of pet owners said “their pets have a mostly positive impact on their mental health.” Among the benefits those pet owners cited:

  • 69% said their pets help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • 69% said their pets provide unconditional love and support.
  • 69% said their pets offer companionship.
  • 66% said their pets providing a calming presence.
  • 63% said their pets are true friends.

According to the APA, “Cat owners were more likely than dog owners to say their pets offer companionship, provide a calming presence and help reduce stress and anxiety. Dog owners were twice as likely as cat owners to say their pet encourages them to be physically active.”

For more details of the March 2023 Healthy Minds Monthly Poll, see the survey report on the American Psychiatric Association website.

For a more personalized testimonial to the demonstrated benefits of cat ownership, see Kira M. Newman’s article, “The Science-Backed Benefits of Being a Cat Lover,” published by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Newman covers cats’ contributions to general well-being, stress reduction, relationship skills and physical health in some detail. 

How We Can Help

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we support the bond between you and your cat by providing the veterinary care needed to maintain your cat’s longest, healthiest life. Through regular check-ups, recommended vaccines and prompt attention to symptoms of ill health, our goal is to help you enjoy the many benefits of cat ownership for as long as possible.