When you hear the words therapy animal, cats aren’t always the first thing you think of. In the halls, or the street, you’ll always see therapy dogs, but therapy cats are nowhere to be seen. Cats have proven many times to have benefits regarding mental and physical health. There are plenty of benefits to owning a cat as a therapy animal that show that compared to dogs, cats are just as good if not better as a therapy animal.
What made this clear is the way cats helped many people get through the pandemic. They did this by helping people through moments of loneliness, isolation, depression and anxiety. After this more people and articles came out on how cats can be just as good of therapy animals as dogs, such as an article from UCDavis Veterinary Medicine which found that Cats are effective and good therapy animals.
Unlike dogs, cats don’t typically add an extra layer of stress. This is because cats are more independent than dogs, reports the Network for Animals. A cat doesn’t require as much attention, daily walks, which costs energy, daycare, which costs money and they can be alone for long periods of time.
Cats are proven to be loving and caring for you but they also like their own space. It is more convenient for anyone who lives a busy lifestyle or prefers the nature of an independent animal. Compared to dogs who need attention most of the time they aren’t always considered to be super independent. They require plenty of attention, and walks, are not able to stay alone for long periods of time and playtime is needed for dogs. It adds a layer of stress and worry onto the person which can be a lot to manage.
According to a 2017 article about cats and dogs from CBC, cats always get a bad reputation for how they act around people. They are told that they are not friendly, mean and aggressive. This is not the case at all.
In fact, cats are loving, friendly and very kind to people especially once they create a bond with their owners. According to animal information resource Diamond Pet, cats can create powerful and emotional bonds with their owner. This helps individuals who have been especially struggling with a loss, creating a bond with their cat will prove to be a greater benefit.
Compared to dogs who do love their owner, dogs can lash out, be unpredictable, get angry or even use means of aggression or bark especially if they feel threatened even if the surroundings are safe. This can have a negative effect on a person especially if the dog is being used as a therapy animal.
While cats may not look like it they do prove to have great mental and physical benefits.
According to research done at Purina, there has been plenty of evidence that states that cats are good therapy animals. There have been cases of decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, lessened feelings of loneliness and improved general feelings of health issues. By owning a cat studies have reported that they generally feel better and have had an increased level of happiness.
“There’s even chemical evidence when you spend time with a cat your production of serotonin goes up, a chemical that boasts feelings of well-being goes up and your cortisol does down,” reports Purina.
Cats have also been found to have increased physical health benefits. An article from Medical News Today found that individuals who had cats had a lower rate of having a heart attack by nearly one- third. The research found that individuals who had cats were less lucky to die from a stroke or a heart attack and this is because they deal with less stress by having a cat.
Cats often are not the first animal to come to mind when therapy animals are being discussed. Articles and studies have shown that, but many of the reasons don’t stand up to research. Cats are just as effective if not better as therapy animals than dogs. They have a bad reputation but are loving animals, more independent and create emotional bonds with their owner and have great mental and physical benefits.