Top 10 Health Benefits of Having a Cat

While it is well known that dogs are loyal and affectionate and have been labelled “man’s best friend” for aeons, cats have suffered from a bad press. With a reputation for being aloof and distant, moving from owner to owner without any real loyalty, and doing nothing but scratching and hissing, cats really do suffer from a poor brand image. But as the thousands of cat lovers will testify, there are in fact, many positives about cat ownership. Here are just a few reasons for making a moggie part of your family:

  1. The popular saying laughter is the best medicine could have been written for cat owners. One of the biggest health benefits of allowing a cat to join your household is that you will never stop laughing – the popularity of cat videos on the internet and programs like Cats Make You LOL, are testament to this fact – cats are funny!
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Cats do make you LOL!

According to market research there are around two million different videos of cats posted on YouTube and each one gets an average of 12,000 views – that’s a grand total of nearly 25 billion views!  So what are the health benefits exactly? Well, having your own cat to laugh at on a daily basis can help to reduce the level of stress hormones in your body, increase the amount of immune cells and help your body to produce more infection-fighting antibodies.

 

  1. Cats bring you back down to earth. You might have had a great day and think you are a super important human being, with a vital job, which no-one else could possibly replace, the head of your own household, and someone who contributes a valuable role in society. But just one look from your cat will bring you right back down.

So what is the health benefit of this you might ask? Well, it’s about balance in life and reducing that feeling of burden and responsibility which we all carry around with us every day. One look from your cat and you are no longer a tense manager with the weight of the company on your shoulders, your only responsibility is to open the tin and feed the cat – you have no other role in life.

  1. Cat purring is actually beneficial for us physically according to medical research reports published recently. The research showed that the purring noise is therapeutically good for us and can benefit humans in a number of different ways, and it has even been proving that the sound of a cat purring near to us, can actually lead to improvements in several health conditions.

A cat purring within a range of 20-140 Hertz, will create therapeutic benefits for humans who are nearby. The sound has been connected with reducing stress symptoms, lowering the likelihood of a heart attack and even making bones stronger.

  1. Although part of the negative reaction to cats is often tied to people’s fear of having an allergy of them, the opposite can also be true, particularly for children. Being brought up with animals in the house, cats in particular, has been shown to reduce levels of allergies in babies.
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Having a cat actually reduces your child’s risk of having asthma.

Studies have shown that if you are about to have a baby, having pets is actually beneficial for the baby, as being around the pets from an early age can trigger their immune system and prevent the allergies from developing in the first place. There is even evidence that living with cats can also prevent children from developing asthma.

 

  1. One of the key benefits of owning a pet is proven stress and anxiety reduction. Owning a pet gives you something to think about other than yourself, not to mention having a gorgeous furry cuddle monster to curl up with in the evenings, particularly if you live alone. Pets give us unconditional love, even allegedly aloof and distant-seeming cats.

Having a cat has been proven to release stress and anxiety as caring for something else takes your mind away from your own troubles and concerns. Not only that, but stroking and petting an animal is very calming and soothing for anyone.

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  1. As well as reducing stress and anxiety levels, cat ownership has been shown to have a beneficial impact on people suffering from depression or from loneliness, perhaps following a bereavement or a life-changing situation such as a divorce or messy break-up. Cat ownership may not immediately spring to mind as a depression treatment but studies have proven otherwise.

Obviously cat care can’t actually cure a medical condition, but it can certainly help provide a different focus for sufferers, taking them out of their own head. Companionship can also help in the battle if the depression is caused by loneliness.


  1. People with autism suffer from difficulties communicating and bonding with others, particularly true of autistic children, but many studies have shown that another therapy area where cats have been proven to help youngsters on the autistic spectrum to learn to communicate and they have been seen to bond closely with pets including cats, when they struggle to bond with people.

children-cat-playing-photography-2__880There have been many cases of children benefiting from feline therapy, developing their communication through bonding with their cat. It has been shown in studies that children on the autism spectrum, who have pets, are far more social than those without, and talking about their pets also helps them to bond better with other people.

  1. Owning a cat can actually lower your blood pressure. Scientific experiments have shown that cat owners frequently have lower blood pressure than those who don’t own cats. It’s not clear why this is the case, other than that perhaps it is linked to the general calming impact and reduction of stress levels associated with cat ownership mentioned earlier.

A study was taken held in Russia years ago which proved in a rather bizarre way that cats can lower blood pressure. The study involved getting cat owners to listen to loud music and scream, and then the same thing was done with non-cat owners. The results were very different as the non-cat owners had very high blood pressure increases as a result.

  1. Health benefits are not just for individuals – our carbon footprint affects the health of everyone in the world and while we focus on things like cars and pollution, it is all too easy to ignore the carbon footprint caused by our pets. The meat eaten by dogs and the impact of their faeces on the environment is huge. Owning a cat can help us to reduce our pet carbon impact.

Cats do impact the environment in terms of the amount of birds they catch and kill and the meat which they eat, however, they have far less of an impact on the environment than dogs do.

  1. It has been proven that cat owners are less likely to visit doctors and hospitals, making fewer visits than non-cat owners. Again, it’s not clear why this should be the case, although perhaps all of the other health benefits added together, help lead to this final crucial positive reason to own a cat.
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A cat a day…

The same studies also revealed that nursing homes which used cats for patient therapy, managed to lower their medication bills than those which didn’t have cats. They also showed that cat ownership helped people to live longer.

So, from reducing stress to lowering blood pressure and helping people to recover from depression and loneliness, cat ownership has been proven to provide many and varied health benefits to humans, so perhaps it’s time to reconsider their reputation and go out there and embrace the positive benefits of becoming a cat parent.

Written by Jonas Jurgella, Ph.D – Animal Communications Scientist, Researcher, and author of the best selling Cat Language Bible (TM): How to Finally Understand & Speak with Your Cat!

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5 Reasons You Should Play with Your Cat Every Day

Whether your cat is more of a loner or an energy-filled playmate, there are many important and advantageous reasons for you to spend time playing with your kitty daily!

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You can get a cat wand from Amazon from under a fiver

For cats, especially for those that are not raised outdoors, physical activity is an important part of a healthy and long life. No matter how big the house they have at their disposal, cats can sometimes be quite lazy and, getting bored easily, might prefer extending their nap time instead of exercising.

Unless there is a health reason preventing your cat from any sort of physical activity, it is best that you take matters into your own hands and entice your feline friend into playing with you. Exercising prevents obesity in cats, strengthens their metabolism and, maybe even more important for some, keeps your cat busy and entertained and away from your favorite things!

At their origins, cats are all wild animals and, for those that weren’t raised outdoors, it is even more important to be active and physically fit!

Bonding is another reason for you to play with your cat often! Although certain breeds are more independent and prefer spending less time in other people’s company than on their own, playing with your cat will help your strengthen your relationship, build trust and maintain mutual affection alive! All cats get lonely when their caretakers do not spend enough time with them. Plus, there’s always the fact that it’s so pleasant and engaging for both of you!

Let’s not forget that many people play with their cats for therapeutic reasons! This simple activity can be a major stress relief even for the healthiest of persons and for those who suffer from certain ailments it is even more productive! From depression to physical disabilities, cats are gradually given the same attention dogs used to be offered in this regard.

Developing your cat’s hunting abilities is another use you can attribute to this act. Indoor cats have fewer chances to express and develop this instinct than their outdoorsy counterparts. By using an electronic toy like SmartKat you can really bring out the inherent hunter in your pet, but other sorts of toys can be just as useful! Just be careful not to choose very small objects as it is very common for cats to swallow items while playing. Also, don’t frustrate your cat by sending it on a continuous hunt; leave room for success and give your darling feline the chance to go in for the kill every now and again!

Playing together also reduces the risk of aggression in your cat. Boredom can be a powerful enemy and, by avoiding it, you can actually manage to teach your cat not to scratch or assault some of the things around the house you’d rather preserve intact!

There probably are many other advantages attached to this simple act, but whether it’s on a whim or out of concern for your cat’s health, ultimately, do it because it’s fun!

Product Recommendation: SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy Concealed Motion Toy

  • 91a5ydnetel-_sl1500_Electronic toy replicates the movements of hidden prey with erratically moving wand under durable fabric
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  • Plastic wands and base made from recycled plastic
  • All SmartyKat products are tested to child safety standards and come with our satisfaction guarantee

Hydration in Cats – Making sure your cat is getting enough fluids

Cat owners have to worry about a lot of things. From the smallest aspects in life such as acquiring the best toys in order to keep their cats away from scratching apart the entire couch to extreme measures required to prevent or even treat their pet’s certain health issues. Some of these health problems could however be avoided if cat owners paid proper attention to their pet’s water intake!

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Glass are NOT a recommended way to hydrate your furry friend!

Since cats are usually not overly preoccupied with drinking water and care more about their yummy treats, owners often forget to pay attention to one very important aspect: hydration! It’s not rare for a cat owner to notice that the water bowl has been barely touched by its furry friend although more than a day or two passes. All animals however, cats included, require a balanced diet and fluid intake in order to maintain their health and although it might be troublesome for some when trying to convince their cat to drink more water, there are certain ways to deal with this common problem!

First of all, try focusing on the type of “dishware” you provide for your cat! Do not try to convince yourself that as long as your cat doesn’t jump around its water bowl or the kitchen sink then everything is fine. Because it is not! Cats have a tendency of being quite the picky little scoundrels and it is not uncommon to see a cat refusing to drink water because it hates the bowl you chose for him.

As absurd as it might sound, this is an important part of maintaining your cat properly hydrated, because these pets hate having their whiskers hit the sides of a bowl as it prevents them from being able keep their surroundings in view. So instead of a deep and narrow water bowl, try using a wider and shallower one to avoid such problems! You might also be surprised to see that your cat prefers drinking water straight from a running faucet instead of its bowl. That is mainly based on the fact that cats generally avoid still waters such as puddles, ponds and lakes!

Secondly, pay more attention to the type of food your cat consumes! Dry food has its undisputable advantages, but when it comes to hydration, excessive consumption of dry food is the most common mistake owners make. Offering your cat a proper amount of wet food daily will make it easier to avoid dehydration and will balance out the lack of water intake that your cat might be struggling with!

Last but not least, always keep your cat’s water fresh! Same as with humans and many other animals, cats hate having to drink water that has been standing around for long. Provide fresh water at least once a day!

Dehydration is a common occurrence in cats all around the world. Pay attention to the aspects above and hasten to your vet if your cat shows any signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, depression, elevated heart rate, decreased skin elasticity or sunken eyes. Obviously, the aim is to never get at this stage. Do give due importance to your cat’s hydration!

Recommended: Cat Fountains

Cat fountains are a great way of getting your cat to drink more as cats are naturally attracted to flowing water and they are more likely to drink from a cat fountain than a cat bowl with still water. Personally I use PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain for my cats as apart from featuring an enticing free-falling water stream, it also includes a replaceable carbon water filter that removes bad tastes and odors, and helps to keep water fresh. It has a built in reservoir so you won’t need to refill it too often and it is made from BPA-Free plastic to safeguard your cat’s health.

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Wet vs Dry Cat Food

With so many sources, legitimate or less so, telling us what and how to feed our pets, the perfect feeding regime for your cat has lately transformed into an overly complicated bachelor thesis instead of a routine task. In the past, feeding your cat seemed a much simpler and easier activity and, even now, owners are tempted to keep old practices alive, but for those who prefer commercialized products it is hard to decide what to buy.

There are many healthy foods humans can consume that your cat should avoid at all costs, leaving most of us with little to no alternative than sticking to pet shop and veterinary approved cat food. There are several brands on the market, so picking just one will always be hard to do, but if we take into consideration that there are mainly just two types of food promoted by each brand, it won’t be so difficult to decide. In the end, it all comes down to “wet” or “dry” cat food.

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Wet vs Dry Cat Food – Which is the Best Choice?

Most cats seem to be more attracted to consuming wet food, which is more similar to how food used to be when they lived in the wild, after all. The perks with this type of cat food are also closely related to maintaining a good health condition for your pet. Many cats do not drink as much water as they should and wet food ensures that they are hydrated, not only well fed. It is also easier for pets that have missing teeth or jaw problems to consume wet food than dry food.

On the other hand, wet food may be more expensive than dry food and it is bought in smaller amounts at a time. Storing it in the fridge might ensure it is edible and fresh for a longer period of time, but try to avoid doing this too often since some cats hate eating cold meat or cold products in general. It is best to serve them food at room temperature.

On this note, if you do decide to give your cat wet food, be careful when buying canned wet food. The bigger the quantity, the harder it will be to ensure fresh food for your cat! As with humans, canned foods are better eaten as soon as you open the can and storing it for too long is not recommended, even if you improvise something to cover the can after having already opened it.

Dry food might not be as appealing to your cat as other types of food, but it is generally easy to store and presents less risks in ending up spoiled or inedible for your pet. There is however the issue of lower levels of animal based proteins which are found in dry kibble. This is important for your pet’s development and should be a priority when choosing the type of foods you provide them.

In the end, it’s best to balance out the two! Find a brand of cat food within a price range you can afford and make sure to offer your cat a diverse meal every day!

 

Reasons Why Your Cat May be Sad

The similarities between cats and humans might be few in number, but when it comes to how cats feel, we are surprisingly alike.

As with people, cats can also become sad or even depressed and the signs are quite clear once you know what to look for and pay a bit of attention to your pet.

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Do you know the signs of a depressed cat?

There are a multitude of reasons for which your pet might be sad, some more common than others. You should normally pay attention to how your cat behaves before drawing any unfounded conclusions, because finding the cause is very important in dealing with the situation and properly solving the problem.

For instance, some of the changes that might appear in this case are the lack of activity, excessive sleeping, losing interest in their interactions with both human and animal companions, diminished appetite, lack of personal grooming and signs of uncleanliness or even mood swings and a change in normal behavior.

If they are faced with loss, be it the death or the disappearance of an animal friend or a favorite human caregiver most cats get depressed and it is natural for them to mourn as humans do in these situations. It is also important to take into consideration that depression in cats can be the consequence of a disease, such as Hypothyroidism or even cancer. The symptoms and signs differ depending on the illness that triggered the emotional imbalance in your cat and it is important to visit the veterinary to diagnose the problem.

There are also cases that might mistakenly lead owners to believe that their cats are anything but sad, when they actually are. For instance excessive meowing or purring can also be a sign that the pet might be unhappy. Sometimes cats purr more than they normally do, not because they are pleased, but because they try to comfort themselves when something is wrong. Meowing or aggressive behavior should also make one ponder, because mood swings and a change in a cat’s normal attitude towards others signals an unhappy pet.

ybxspslBeing lonely might seem as a common and unimportant reason, but not all cats that are
faced with this issue manage the problem by scratching or destroying a few things around the house in their owners’ absence. Some cats become sad because they long for human companionship and it is important to know the specifics of your pets breed before submitting your pet to a certain life style that might affect not only its mood, but also its health.

Boredom is another common reason for a cat to be unhappy, especially if they are the only pet in the house and they spend a lot of time on their own. Try to spend as much time as possible with your cat, and shower them with love when you come back from work so they do not feel neglected. Providing them with ‘active play’ toys can also help keep them engaged when you are away (check out Catit Circuit toys on Amazon for around $20).

Chances are that the reasons why your cat is unhappy and sad are actually common and easily solved causes or even sometimes natural ones, such as being influenced by the time of year and becoming depressed during winter months (Seasonal Affective Disorder). However, to avoid more serious and drastic situations, you should pay close attention to your pet to ensure its good health and general well-being before overlooking or minimizing your cats more serious problems!

Human Food that is Harmful to Cats

All pets have a tendency to steal a treat or two when you’re not watching and cats are no exception to the rule. Whether it is accidental or of your own accord, feeding your cat certain foods that you consume on a regular basis without any problem might turn out to have the opposite effect on your pet! There is a long list of edible products for humans that can even turn out to be fatal, not only harmful for cats!

As absurd as the chances of your cat consuming alcohol may be, your cat’s health is in great peril once she ingests even a single spoonful of it. This substance is known to cause severe liver and brain damage for our furry companions and you should take extra care not to leave any of it in your pet’s proximity! The higher the quantity, the higher the risks: coma and even death can result from such an experience!

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Chocolate is TOXIC to cats!

Your desire to offer your cat something sweet might be well intended, but it can have severe repercussions on its health! Giving chocolate to your cat is a definite NO! Besides caffeine, chocolate also contains a substance called theobromine, which could lead to heart problems, muscle tremors or seizures.

An unusual and generally unexpected risk is generated by dairy products. Most cats are lactose-intolerant and consuming milk or any other dairy product can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems for your pet. The main reason is that cats’ digestive systems are not capable of processing these substances.

Tuna is generally a cat’s favorite dish, but tuna prepared for humans compared to that especially made for cats can produce malnutrition or even mercury poisoning.

Take out some raw meat out of the fridge and your cat will come running from a mile away after catching a whiff of it! Unfortunately, there are many cases in which your cat might end up with food poisoning as many raw meats and fish contain bacteria. In addition, serious neurological problems, convulsions and coma can results from a lack of thiamine, which is an essential B vitamin that is destroyed by a certain enzyme contained by raw fish!

Second only to fish, liver is another black listed product for your cat. While small quantities might be inoffensive, regular or excessive consumption can produce vitamin A toxicity. From deformed bones, bone growths on the elbows and spine and osteoporosis to death, this ailment is not a joking matter when it comes to your cat’s health!

Not as likely to be consumed as other products might be, grapes and raisins are however risky. There are few reports of cats growing ill from eating them, yet kidney failure is a constant repercussion in dogs who have consumed grapes, so it would be best to avoid them altogether!

It is very tempting for humans to share their food with their beloved pets, but in case you forget to avoid the aforementioned products and end up feeding your cat any of them, pay attention to any changes in its health and report to your veterinarian as soon as a negative reaction appears!

 

 

How to Prevent and Treat Hairballs in Cats

Cats groom themselves often to keep themselves clean and we love them for it! But, for some cats, the process of grooming their coats often leads to hairballs forming. These are not always cause for alarm, but it is true that they are an inconvenient for your cat and that they can lead to health issues that are best avoided!

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Cats are expert self-groomers
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Don’t have a cat brush yet? Get one from Amazon.com

Some cat breeds are more prone to developing hairballs than others because of their dense or long fur. In their case, hairballs are common consequences of constant grooming. Help your cat out by brushing and combing its coat at least once a day! This will lessen your pet’s intake of fur, yet maintain its coat clean and looking fabulous and can even end up as a pleasant activity for you to share together and strengthen your friendship!

There are also instances in which the reasons might not be as natural: excessive shedding and compulsive grooming are two often encountered situations that lead to hairballs forming. It is best to take your cat to the vet, who can prescribe something for its condition. Excessive shedding can be an underlining sign of sickness and should not be ignored! As for an alternative for pets suffering from compulsive grooming, redirecting their attention towards other activities in order to minimize the bad habit is the best manner in which you can solve the problem. Distract your cat’s attention with a new toy or different playful activities and it will eventually lessen the time your cat spends grooming itself.

A change of diet would also benefit cats that are troubled by constant hairballs. Specialists believe that consuming wet food is better than feeding your cat dry kibble, because cats are carnivores who naturally thrive on a high protein diet instead of a carbohydrates based one. After all, cats are not genetically inclined to eat grain based foods, so it is best to feed them low quantities of carbohydrates!

As an addition to wet food, seek products based on fibers that are commercialized for the purpose of preventing and treating hairballs. Many brands offer treats for cats which contain higher quantities of protein than their regular food. This is believed to stimulate transit and therefore make it easier for cats to naturally eliminate the hair they ingest while grooming. However, one must remember that these products do not show results in all cats and that there is also medication a veterinarian can prescribe for such issues. Generally, these consist of laxatives that will ease the elimination of ingested hair and prevent hairballs from forming. It is important not to attempt feeding your cat human medication and to always solicit a vet’s advice before deciding on any course of action!

If your cat frequently suffers from hairballs, your vet will likely recommend you include hairball ‘treats’ regularly in your cat’s diet – these are widely available in petshops or online. A popular such product in Purina ONE Hairball Formula.

595054-26530-28Whether you decide to take your cat for a specialized check-up or you prefer to try other methods, make sure to always monitor your cat in such situations! Vomiting hairballs every once in a blue moon is a natural phenomenon for a cat and should not worry you over much!

Products Mentioned in the Article:

  1. Cat Brush (Chirpy)
  2. Purina One Hairball Formula