People who keep cats derive many benefits from the daily interaction with their pet and by providing care for their companion. The main benefits include;
1. Companionship - this is the most important benefit for most cat owners.
2. Emotional support - cats are perceived to be receptive and responsive to their owner's emotional states and can help to provide supportive interactions with people.
3. Enable social interactions- cats can help their owners to establish new friendships and other human connections, since cat owners seem to be more socially interactive.
4. An increase in self esteem- caring for a cat and taking responsibility for its day to day care can improve feelings of self esteem and self worth.
5. Fun and relaxation- cats will often play games and we all know how relaxing it can be to have a friendly cat curled up and purring on your lap!
6. Cats provide benefits to the elderly by providing companionship and a daily requirement for care which leads to a sense of being needed and a sense of purpose.
7. Benefits for children- children with pets can have improved social skills and a greater understanding of the cycle of life.
8. Many families with pets are conscious of hygiene and this can be beneficial.
People who own cats are more likely to be long-lived, have reduced risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure, be more relaxed and experience less stress (or at least manage it better). Cat owners are less likely than other people to become depressed, are generally less self-centred or aggressive, they tend to be more supportive of others and less judgemental. The newest trend in the cat world is that of the "cat cafe" where people can interact with cats while they sip their coffee! Could this provide benefits in terms of health and wellbeing for people who are unable to keep a pet cat of their own?