Our love for our feline friends has been there for thousands of years. But why do people love cats so much?
We’ve heard this question many times, presumably from annoying dog owners. To list every single reason why someone might love cats, we’ll have to write a book on it and then a few more.
If you ask ten different cat owners this same question, you will most likely get ten different answers.
One reason we hear from time to time is that cats are much like us. How? Each cat is like an individual with a unique personality. This makes it easy for us to relate to them.
Another popular reason people fancy cats as pets is because they’re adorable. Can you resist gently stroking a fluffy cat when you see one?
We always snuggle and pet the fluffy fur of our feline friends. Touching the silky smooth fur makes us feel good. Hearing them purr in return warms our hearts.
If you’re familiar with our blog, you know we love cats of all shapes and sizes. So let us introduce you to our list of Top 3 Reasons Why We Love Cats So Much!
1). They Love Us
Contrary to popular belief, cats love us as much as we love them. This has been proven scientifically, as countless studies show that our feline companions love and trust us in abundance.
How do we know they love us?
First of all, they can sense emotional distress. If there’s a heated argument in the room, your cat is most likely to leave.
If you’re feeling down, and not talking or playing with your cat. It will come and sit on your lap or lie down in front of you. It will start playing, or doing something hilarious that will make you laugh. Or it will show its affection by rubbing its head against you.
Basically, your cat will know when you’re stressed and offer heartwarming affection
2). They Are Easy To Please
Cats are SO easy to please.
They are not needy, unlike dogs that require owners to stay with them at all times. If you’re a cat person like us, you know leaving for work is no problem.
We can work during the day without having to worry about our pet friend. That’s because we know they can take care of themselves.
They occupy themselves in various activities and don’t mind staying alone from time to time.
Our feline friends don’t have many daily requirements either. For example, they don’t need daily baths as they are naturally good at keeping themselves clean.
To top it all, cats don’t take up any space. They are small and won’t require an extra room or pet house.
Speaking from experience, we can assure you that cats are one of the easiest pets to take care of.
3). They Make Us Feel Happy
Our cats are our best friends. We live with them and experience life with them.
They make us happy and they make us sad. They make us calm and they make us angry. They make us energetic and they make us tired.
But most importantly, they make us feel loved and they warm our hearts.
Cats are friendly, fluffy, and adorable.
Being a cat owner has many perks, which is probably why so many of us are adopting them. According to a recent survey, 29% of Americans are cat owners. This means 1 out of every 3 Americans has a cat at home.
People love cats, not only in the United States but all around the world.
Our feline companions are well-known for their loving nature. This is one reason why they are so popular.
Another reason is the health benefits of interacting with them. Having a pet cat can do wonders for your health.
Don’t believe us?
Here, take a look at our list of 5 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Having a Pet Cat.
1). Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Having a pet cat is soothing. Interacting with them triggers the release of calming chemicals in our bodies that reduce both stress and anxiety.
Ask any cat owner and they will tell you how relaxing it is when their cat jumps into their lap. As cat owners ourselves, we can confirm as much.
This isn’t something only cat lovers believe, as many scientists also attest to this fact. Countless studies have confirmed that cats are comforting animals and living with them relieves stress.
2). Fewer Allergies
Having a cat in your home can reduce allergies, but not for adults. That’s because the immune system of an adult is already fully developed.
In children, however, chances of allergies can be reduced by interacting with cats. That’s because their bodies are still growing and open to change. Infants aged less than a year are likely to benefit the most. There have been studies that confirm as much.
3). Lower BP and Better Heart Condition
Cat owners have a lower chance of suffering from high blood pressure. They are also at a reduced risk of any heart disease.
Both of these are scientifically proven facts.
According to a study conducted in Minnesota, cat owners have a 30% to 40% lower chance of suffering from any heart disease.
In another study, a room was filled with cat owners who were told to speak loudly, an exercise that naturally raises blood pressure. Once their blood pressure was recorded, they were asked to repeat the same action but with their cat by their side this time.
The results were shocking as their blood pressure remained constant throughout the exercise. This study alone proves the soothing qualities of cats.
4). Mood Booster
Playing with a cat releases oxytocin, a peptide hormone that relaxes our bodies.
Even if you don’t own a cat, you can relax by watching cat videos. We know it sounds ridiculous but this too is backed by scientific evidence.
Studies prove that when you watch cat videos, you will experience a warm, fuzzy feeling and be in a better mood.
5). Emotional Support
Even though they are only animals, our pets offer emotional support during difficult times. They can help us cope with serious issues like the loss of a loved one.
Due to their affectionate nature, cats sense emotional distress and try to make us feel better.
Cats are beautiful animals and their charm is out of this world. That is exactly why so many of us adore them and also why every other household has a pet cat.
Yet, their charm isn’t the only reason why we love them. If we were to make a list of the reasons we love cats, it would never end.
A question we often get is: is there really anything that cats can teach us? Well, we among millions believe there’s not one but many.
Even pet psychologists admit cats are smarter than we think and there is a lot to learn from them. From personal experience, we can also confirm that being a cat owner can teach you many important life lessons.
Are you still not convinced that having a pet cat could teach you a thing or two? Allow us to change your mind with our list of 4 Important Life Lessons to Learn from Cats.
1). Appreciate the Little Things
Have you ever seen your cat play with something simple like a jug or basket instead of the expensive toys you just bought? This happens quite often.
They will play with the simplest of things and ignore the beautifully designed and elegantly colored cat toys.
They do things depending on their mood. If they feel like sleeping in a card box instead of a cat bed, then that is exactly what they will do.
They enjoy simple and little things just as much as fancy and big ones. Like our affectionate companions, we also should learn to appreciate the little things that bring joy to our lives.
2). Get Enough Sleep
Millions of people suffer from sleep deprivation on a daily basis. Due to a lack of sleep, these people have to face a tremendous amount of problems daily.
In the worst cases, people cannot even perform their day to day tasks properly because their heads feel heavy.
Cats, on the other hand, are never sleep deprived because they always lie down whenever they feel like resting. Due to this smart habit, they are never drained and are always in a good mood.
When it comes to resting rules, we ought to follow our fluffy companions and lie down whenever we feel tired and have the time to do so.
3). Never Give Up
Cats are stubborn animals.
Once they have their minds set up on a task, they don’t give up easily. Let’s look at an example. If a cat sees a mouse crawl into a hole, it will wait hours for it to come out.
Cats are relentless and can wait on their prey for hours. If they fail to catch their prey at the first try, then no matter, they will try again and again and again ... until they succeed.
This is something we can learn from cats and apply to our own life. We should try to be as determined as these persistent animals who never give up.
4). Do What Makes Us Happy
No matter what it is, cats always do what makes them happy.
They jump from wall to wall, sit right in front of the television, eat food, play with their prey, play with a ball, and whatever else they enjoy doing.
They do what makes them happy and that is exactly what we should be doing too. Figure out what makes you happy and then start doing it.
We dote on our cats and dogs, but is it a one-way relationship? Here’s what science tells us about how to decode their emotions, whether they are avoiding us or getting a little too amorous with our legs
‘Dogs respond with an oxytocin surge when interacting with humans ...’
It is almost a year to the day since Dustin, our milky-eyed nervebag of a cat, died and we still miss him a great deal, although he was not a great giver of emotion. We miss his refusing to look our way immensely. And his not wanting to be stroked there, there or there. But it wasn’t Dustin’s fault he was like this. Unknown trauma in kittenhood (he was left in a shoebox at the front door of a vet’s surgery) meant that he lived his entire 11 years in terror of being mauled to death by some unseen enemy. Understandably, this constant fear made Dustin very, very nervous.
Through many years of care and affection, we almost managed to rescue him from this anxiety until – almost as if to prove a point – Dustin was mauled to death by two pet dogs off the lead. When we pulled his frozen body out of the freezer before his funeral, Dustin had a withering expression – “I told you so” it seemed to say. This was the only time we really got to stroke him properly. Frozen solid.
I often find myself wondering whether Dustin loved us. The shamefully needy part of me wants reassurance that we made his 11 years as pleasurable as possible. But can we ever really understand what pets feel for us? After a year of this topic swirling around in my head, I thought I would share where I’ve got to.
Is the cat happy with this embrace?
First, some definitions. There is something very British about the fact we have many, many words to describe types of falling moisture (mist, drizzle, hail, sleet, etc) and yet the most dramatic and powerful of emotions – motivating billions of humans to do extraordinary things for one another each day – is chucked into a single bucket labelled, rather blandly, “love”. One can’t help but feel that the ancient Greeks had it right, by pulling love apart into various strands. Storge (“store-gae”) is the love between family members, for instance; eros is erotic love; philia is something like the loyalty that friendship brings; philautia is love for the self. And so, in this piece, I would like to break the concept of pet love into these neat and easily digestible Greek chunks.
To storge, familial love. It won’t surprise you to learn that dogs, more than any other pet, exhibit oodles of this form of love for us. And, unlike most other pets, these attachments have been the subject of many scientific studies. The science confirms what we knew all along, that most dogs actively choose proximity to humans and, within a few months of being born, a puppy’s attraction is clearly toward people rather than other dogs. Dogs exhibit varying degrees of separation anxiety when their humans temporarily leave them. Blood pressure rates in dogs lower when they are being stroked by us. It is a form of storge that we share with one another. No question.
Studies of brain chemicals add further weight to this relationship. In dogs and humans (in fact all mammals) the behaviours that bond individuals are maintained through a cocktail of molecules that are absorbed in different ways by the brain. Many of these are regulated by brain hormones that include vasopressin and oxytocin, the (dramatically over-hyped) “love” molecule. In all mammals (including humans) production of this hormone spikes when individuals are sexually aroused, while giving birth and while nursing offspring. It also rises when we see those that we love, particularly close family members. Interestingly, dogs respond with an oxytocin surge not only when interacting with one another, but also (unlike nearly all other mammals) when interacting with humans.
A similar phenomenon occurs with cats. One small-scale study suggests that cats do receive an oxytocin boost upon being petted by their owners, so there may be love there, but it reflects one-fifth of the amount seen in dogs. If anything sums up cats, it’s this.
Never tickle a parrot down its back or on, or under, its wings
But what of eros? Thankfully, most dogs or cats don’t view us in an erotic light. Even leg-humping isn’t likely to be a sex thing. The intentions of a horny dog may not necessarily be to inseminate their owner’s leg, but instead to manage unresolved tensions within the human-canine household. Some argue it could be about dominance; others that it could be to let off steam. There is also a chance that, well, a bit of friendly leg-humping just feels really nice to a dog, but not necessarily in a knowing, sexual way. The behaviour is seen in male and female dogs, and, occasionally, in cats.
Birds, however, are another story. Birds are far more likely to feel a warmth for their owners that you could term eros. A parrot that is tenderly stroked in the wrong places by its minder, for instance, will often misread friendship signals as foreplay and begin producing sex hormones. Should you wish not to sexually excite a parrot, try not to stroke down its back or on, or under, its wings. These are the areas that males and females preen in the early stages of their courtship in the wild. A stroke like this is like the kiss and a cuddle that readies them for sex. Upon discovering this fact, I realised I had more than once inadvertently sexed up a parrot.
Creature comforts: has the US's emotional support animal epidemic gone too far?
Ancient Greeks had no word for cupboard love, but, undoubtedly, this is a love the vast majority of animal pets may feel for us. The pet frog or snake that readies itself from its slumber when the humans appear with food. The fish that swarm to the top of a tank at feeding time. Even invertebrates such as stick insects and hissing cockroaches might approach something like this form of love. And you really could argue that it’s a kind of love – something close to philia, a loyalty or a dependable friendship, with the emphasis on food dependability. Sure, it’s not a love that inspires sonnets, but it’s something.
A desperately depressed part of me wonders if Dustin loved only himself – that he exhibited philautia. That his each and every day was consumed with where best to hide, how best to be fed and how best to maintain the status quo of survival. This is the ultimate slap in the face for self-obsessed human carers like me, and so considering Dustin in this way naturally saddens me. But then I remember something wonderful. Rare moments of … something else.
Every few months, when he thought we were fast asleep, a very different Dustin would show himself to us – but he would only emerge in the darkest of night. Dustin would sit on the end of the bed and he would watch me sleep. As I lay on my front, he would wait a few minutes before making a stealthy approach and he would begin to pummel his paws against my ribs. A deep purr would emanate from his broad body. This choking purr moved my bones as I held my eyes closed. Minute after minute, he would go on like this, purring and pummelling, and then he would change position. He would lie down and rest his chin in the cleft between my shoulder blades and stretch his paws over my shoulders as if cuddling me.
I would lie there motionless, eager not to ruin these rare and magical moments, breathing in the rhythmic vibrations of his deep purrs. Sometimes, a long, sinuous blob of gelatinous pleasure-drool would roll down my neck. I didn’t care. I wore it as a badge of honour. But then it would end. After about 20 minutes, the spell would lift. Dustin would run out of the door, apparently disgusted with himself for exposing his emotion so wantonly. I don’t think the ancient Greeks had a word for a love like that. A love like that is hard to pin down, hard to put into words. You know it when it happens, that is as close as I can get to putting it into a sentence.
And so, you loved like you lived, dearest Dustin. Cautiously. Yours was a careful love, but a real and vivid love, nonetheless – a love on a spectrum of incredible ways in which humans engage with other animals on planet Earth and, in fleeting moments or in lifelong infatuation, they engage back.
post written by: Jules HowardTue 16 Jul 2019 11.00 BST
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