Milwaukee Edition

Five Reasons to Love a Cat

They Bring Health and Happiness Home

MirasWonderland/Shutterstock.com

As beloved and compatible pets, indoor cats provide emotional, mental and physical benefits.

Companionship

Loneliness is never a problem with a cat around. “Cats need to be fed, have litter changed and be brushed,” says Lisa Bahar, a therapist and clinical counselor at Lisa Bahar Marriage and Family Therapy, in Newport Beach, California. “Being comforted by a cat helps with depression and isolation.”

While at Indiana University Bloomington Media School, Jessica Gall Myrick, Ph.D., now associate professor at Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, discovered watching cat videos isn’t just fun, but a way to feel more energetic and positive. With some 94 million YouTube tales of cat adventures online, there’s no lack of available mood boosters.

Exercise

Some cats enjoy leashed walks, presenting opportunities to mindfully enjoy nature and make friends. At home, a cat’s hunting skill and human creativity can be tapped using do-it-yourself treat dispensers and toys or inventive games.

Improved Health

Talking to kitty can make a bad day better. A lap cat prompts enforced timeouts and excuses to nap. Petting reduces tension and stress. Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, in Los Angeles, points to a study from Life Sciences Research Institute, in Pretoria, South Africa, showing, “Simply petting a cat can reduce stress-related cortisol, while increasing serotonin and oxytocin.”

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
~Sigmund Freud

The Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up concluded that having a cat lowers risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and cardiovascular disease including strokes, making cats a novel path to a healthier heart.

Zen CatWhen researchers reporting in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America measured the purring sound of domestic cat purrs, they discovered these resonate at 25 and 50 Hertz (Hz), the two low frequencies that best promote bone growth and fracture healing. Purrs also have a strong harmonic near 100 Hz, a level some orthopedic doctors and physical therapists use for ultrasound therapy.

A child under a year old living with a cat is only half as likely to develop allergies to pets, ragweed, grass and dust mites, much as inoculations guard against disease and boost immune systems. The study, published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, followed children from infancy to age 18.

French researchers discovered autistic children age 5 and older that had a cat were more willing to share, offer comfort to others and show empathy. Sharing cat responsibilities tightened family bonds.

Cats like routine, especially for meals, making them good pets for Alzheimer’s patients that may lose track of time.

I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats.
~Eckhart Tolle

Many people like the added warmth of a nearby sleeping cat at night. Fifteen minutes of exercise, followed by a snack, will put kitty on the owner’s sleep schedule.

Cats are Low-Maintenance

Overall, cats are self-sufficient animals, requiring only love, food and a spotless litter box. Self-cleaning, most cats don’t require regular trips to the groomer for haircuts and a bath. Scratching posts keep nails short. A snack, playtime or welcoming puddle of sunshine persuades kitty that it’s naptime.

Pet Cat“In rescue, we say dogs are toddlers and cats are teenagers. Cats live without constant oversight,” says jme Thomas, co-founder of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, in Redmond, Washington. “They’re good pets for busy people. Adopt two at the same time so they bond and aren’t lonely.”

Cats are Eco-Friendly

A New Zealand study reports that cats have a lower carbon footprint than dogs, comparing dogs to a Hummer and cats to a Volkswagen Golf. Dogs eat more beef, incurring red meat’s huge footprint. “Because cats eat less than most dogs overall, it saves money, too,” says Gilbreath.

Everyone needs someone to care for and love. With about 77 million cats living in U.S. households and more in shelters or rescues, there’s plenty of people- and planet-friendly love to be found.


Connect with freelance writer Sandra Murphy at StLouisFreelanceWriter@mindspring.com.


This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Crossing Over with John Edward

Milwaukeeans will be able to join renowned psychic medium John Edward as part of a live group audience as he connects with the Other Side.

Connect to God at Book Launch and Psychic Fair

The Spirit Connection, Four Ways to Connect to God Book Launch and Psychic Fair takes place from noon to 5 p.m., May 6 at Bluemound Bowl.

MKE Dance Theatre Network Presents Pina Bausch’s The NELKEN-Line

The two performances, held on May 12, will take place between 9:30 a.m. to noon at Alice’s Garden, and from 1 to 4 p.m. at Lynden Sculpture Garden.

Teens Grow Greens Cooks for a Cause

The organization, which formed in 2014 and has the motto “learn, grow and go”, teaches teenagers to develop life skills through hands-on experience via a nine-month paid internship.

Herbal Conference in Wisconsin

The seventh annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, to be held June 1 to 3 in Almond, Wisconsin.

Local Hypnotherapist Launches Educational Podcast

Certified hypnotherapist and hypnosis instructor Rick Paddock, founder of New Berlin-based Milwaukee Hypnosis & Wellness Center, has launched an educational podcast entitled Mind Flipping.

SCHIZOPHRENIA

These days, a relatively new thinking has emerged in the field of schizophrenia: that the underlying problem could be unchecked and chronic inflammation.

Rise Yoga Welcomes New Instructor

Rise Yoga Studio, in Mequon, has recently welcomed Maral Almozaffar to their staff of yoga teachers. Almozaffar has completed a 500-hour teacher-training program in Rishikesh, India.

A Whole Person Approach 
at Holistic Dentistry 
of Port Washington

Dr. Laura Railand provides a calm, friendly environment where patients aren’t rushed through, and their concerns are heard.

Letter from Publisher

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that extraordinary health benefits may be achieved through fasting, a practice long revered throughout the world for its spiritual benefits.

Beyond Birth Control

The naturopathic approach to this issue aims to restore normal hormonal rhythm and balance by looking at hormones produced by the ovaries and then by looking at the body as a whole.

Pillow Self-Talk

Spending a few minutes each night with three purposeful questions will help us to rest content and awaken with joy.

Add your comment: