In the interest of full disclosure, we are revealing that there are are two authors of this article: Joanne Eglash (human) and Bob the Kitten. As you'll see if you check out the slideshow, though (and we hope you do!), Bob the Kitten is the star. So what's the tail of this article? We're sharing the secrets of just how you can enhance your health and happiness with a pet. And Bob wants to add: "Both me and my fur friend Missy Kitty are rescue cats, adopted from the local animal shelter. Rescue rocks!"
Be sure to leave your comments below, because we'd love to hear from you and your pet about your own fur friendships. And now, the top 10 ways in which adopting a pet benefits your health:
- In just a few minutes with a pet, "your body actually goes through physical changes in that time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased," reports WebMD.
- Pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet in a study of married people.
- Heart-healthy: "Over the 20 years of one study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure," says WebMD
- Even on days when you feel as if you're walking around under a dark cloud, spending time with a pet can let you see the silver lining.
- Pets can make you laugh, relieving your stress. Check out my photo in the slideshow showing Bob Kitten and Missy Kitty playing "push the ball" to see what you think (it looks as if they're placing bets on the wheel in Las Vegas!).
- Not motivated to exercise? Take a walk with your dog or run around with a string for your furry friend: You'll both benefit.
- Make friends. Even if you're an introvert (click here for the signs that you are), heading to a dog park or talking about your cat can bring out your inner social butterfly.
- A reason for me to thank Bob Kitten and Missy Kitty: "Cat owners have fewer strokes than people who don't own cats. It's partly due to the effects owning a pet can have on a person's circulation. But researchers speculate that cats may have a more calming effect on their owners than other animals do. It may also have something to do with the personality of a cat owner. Cats often become the focus of their owner's interest, which diverts them from other stressful worries," reports WebMD.
- Children benefit with fewer allergies, according to studies which show that kids who are raised in a home with a dog or cat are less apt to develop allergies. They also have stronger immune systems.
- What you can learn from your cat: Stretching is important for a flexible body. Stretch each time your cat does, and you'll improve your flexibility and balance.