• December 8, 2023

6 Reasons Why All Men Should Own a Cat

We all know cats are cute, but did you know they can do amazing things? Sure, if you own one, your house will smell like cat pee (and maybe some other stuff) for days, but there are plenty of reasons why owning a feline companion is beneficial even essential that go beyond making your home look less clean than it actually is. 

Here are six benefits of owning a cat

1.    Cats Are Fun

"I love my cat," says Dr. Ryan McCarthy, director of clinical services at New York-based nonprofit organization The Center For Feral Paws. "She's an absolute doll." McCarthy has been working with feral cats for more than 15 years, helping them find permanent homes in much the same way he once helped his mother care for her litter of kittens. 

And while a lot of people think of cats as aloof creatures who've never demonstrated any kind of emotion, the truth is just the opposite. 

Like dogs, cats have different personalities depending on their environment, diet, genetics, and training. A neutered male who was raised by humans might not see eye-to-eye with a female who spent her life eating mice under a rock, but that doesn't mean either animal isn't happy or content.

In fact, cats tend to thrive when given the space to explore their surroundings without human interference. That's why many shelters across America often feature adoptable felines who've had previous owners removed from their lives, giving them a chance to live out their dreams of becoming part of a new family. 

If you're looking for a furry friend who gets along well with other animals, or perhaps someone who likes to cuddle up with you during a movie marathon, then a pet cat may be right for you.

2.    Cats Help With Mental Health Issues

A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that children who grew up with pets were no worse off emotionally than those who didn't. In fact, researchers suggested having a pet might help kids cope better with stress.

And while pets aren't necessarily thought to reduce anxiety levels, studies show owning a pet seems to be linked to lower blood pressure and increased happiness.

Researchers believe this phenomenon occurs because pets give us something we crave deeply: unconditional love. 

Being able to take comfort in knowing our pets won't judge us for something stupid we said or did, for example, helps ease tension and gives us peace of mind. It makes us feel cared for, loved, and safe.  That's exactly what happens between a dog and its owner. So, it stands to reason that it would happen with another animal too.

"It's really hard to explain," explains Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, psychiatrist, and professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. "Pets don't talk back. They don't get mad at you. If you yell at your dog, she won't yell back at you. She'll wag her tail, lick your face and run away. There's nothing wrong with that behavior unless you yell at her every day."

As far as mental health goes, experts say it's important to have a positive relationship with a pet so it can act as a form of therapy. When you interact with your pet, you learn about yourself, how you treat others and what you expect from them.

"The whole idea is to create a good bond between you and your pet," says McCarthy. "You want them to be comfortable being near you, and hopefully, through that process, they'll be comfortable being near anyone else who loves them."

3.    Cats Make Great Therapy Animals

When I first heard about this concept, I couldn't help but laugh. But after doing some research, I realized it made perfect sense. Psychotherapy sessions often include talking therapies, such as psychodrama, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychoanalysis, which require patients to share personal stories and feelings. Sometimes these types of conversations are difficult in certain situations, but according to Siegel, an animal can make that easier.

"Animals provide a context where people can express themselves freely," he explained via email. "They allow people to relax enough to let down their guards, which allows them to be vulnerable. We need the closeness of animals to truly open ourselves up to each other."

He added that therapy sessions involving pets and clients often lead to deeper discussions since the animals typically respond to the client's emotions better than most people do. Plus, it's a great way to build trust between therapist and patient.

4.    Cats Can Be Your Best Friend

There's a common misconception that only dogs deserve to be called friends. After all, dogs are man's best friend, and some even consider them soul mates, right? Well, cats definitely fall into that category too. Dr. Susan Silk, the founder of the American College of Feline Practitioners, told CNN that cats are affectionate and loyal to a fault. Like dogs, they enjoy spending time with their owners, and they may even become close confidantes.

But unlike dogs, cats are very independent and self-sufficient. They eat, sleep and play all on their own terms, so don't count on them to come running whenever you call their name. Instead, rely on them to show affection toward you in their own ways.

Silk suggests rubbing behind your cat's ears, gently stroking her fur and letting her know she's special. If you feed her regularly, she'll probably appreciate that. Cats also have a strong sense of hearing, so try using high-pitched sounds to communicate with them.

"Cats are known for hiding food — they'll hide food behind furniture, inside cabinets and drawers, and in piles of newspapers," says Silk. "Don't leave food lying around where your cat can see it. Also, keep food locked up so your cat can't get to it. Keep your trashcan lid closed, and put bags in the closet."

With that said, it's important to note that cats are carnivores. They should always be fed quality food from reputable sources, lest they develop nutritional deficiencies.

5.    You'll Become More Laid Back

According to Silk, owning a cat can help improve your mood and attitude. Studies show that people who own pets are happier, healthier, and have higher self-esteem than those who don't.

This theory is supported by a 2013 study conducted by the University of California Berkeley, which showed that people who had pets reported feeling significantly less lonely and depressed than non-pet owners. Researchers suggest the connection stems from the simple fact that owning a pet provides companionship both physical and emotional that improves your overall wellbeing.

Plus, having a pet means you'll spend more time interacting with your cat instead of watching TV all day. This alone can make you more relaxed and laid back.

6.    It's Just Good Common Sense

Finally, here's one last benefit of owning a cat: It's just plain practical. Think about it: Who needs a car alarm anymore when you have a cat? Sure, you could buy one of those annoying devices that chirp incessantly if you wanted, but why bother when your kitty can do the job so much better? Cats are notoriously bad at getting stolen cars started, thanks to their natural instincts to pounce on and attack potential thieves. Some even use this tactic to scare off neighborhood squirrels.

So yeah, a car alarm may seem like a nice thing to have, but it's a huge waste of money and potentially dangerous to your cat. Better yet, let your cat protect your vehicle from unwanted visitors. Owning a cat may not solve all of your problems, but it sure does offer lots of benefits. Now that you have a few tips on the top six benefits of owning a cat, it's time to start searching for your next little buddy.

Felines have long served as symbols of status and wealth throughout history. One of the earliest examples dates back to Ancient Egypt, where cats were considered sacred and associated with the goddess Bastet. Throughout ancient Greece, rich families kept lions as pets. And in Rome, wealthy citizens took pride in keeping tigers as exotic additions to their households.

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