As anyone with a pet knows, animals are great to talk to mainly because they don’t talk back.
Therefore, they are the perfect conversation partner, allowing you to vent your thoughts and frustrations after a hard day at work. And all they ask in return is some food and somewhere to sleep. It’s not a bad set up really.
However, for as long as people have allowed cats in their home, there has also been the somewhat cruel stereotype of the ‘crazy cat person’ – someone who has an inexplicable number of feline friends wandering throughout their house, usually as a replacement for human companionship.
While that might sound like a sensible thing to do for some people, the stereotype has become a negative image, giving any single person, male or female, a hint of the ‘crazy cat owner’ vibe.
However, good news is here in the form of science from real scientists! Confirming what all cat lovers already knew, of course.
According to Dr Danielle Forshee, a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, talking to your pet (even though they don’t talk back) will not only create and sustain a healthy bond between you and your pet, but will have a positive impact on your mental health.
Speaking to Elite Daily Forshee suggested that the very act of owning a pet can ‘reduce stress, help fight depression, lower blood pressure, and prevent heart disease.’
Forshee also suggested that, despite not being able to talk back, the bond that forms between human and pet is the same as between human and human. Talking to your pet the way you would a close friend or family member is beneficial for both mental and physical health.
As published by Newswise, a study of responses to stress in a group of hypertensive New York City stockbrokers showed that responses to a pet dog or cat can control blood pressure better than ACE inhibitors – the drug usually used to treat high blood pressure and hypertension.
According to CDC, bonds between people and their pets have many benefits, including increased fitness, lower stress, decreased feelings of loneliness and lower blood pressure.
On the other hand, while talking to your cat can be extremely beneficial, we all know that our feline friends have a mind of their own.
Researchers in Tokyo recently found that while cats are more than capable of recognising the voices of their owners, they often choose to ignore them.
It’s not just because people who own cats have a tendency to dress them up in jumpers, carry them around like babies and generally annoy them either (Don’t all cat owners do this?), it’s actually an important evolutionary defence.
Apparently, unlike man’s best friend the dog, cats were never actually domesticated by early humans. Instead, they simply moved in with our ancestors to eat the vermin who were attracted to primitive grain stores.
Despite this, it’s important to remember that in the study both ‘dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets’.
It’s all good for your health at the end of the day.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.