As anyone who owns a cat can tell you, when you adopt a feline, your life changes in a lot of ways: You start talking to something you know will never reply in full sentences. Your Google search history starts including quandaries like “best organic cat food,” and “will my cat die because it ate part of my fern?” Your Instagram followers go up. When I adopted a little tabby-calico I call Evie six months ago, I expected plenty of these alterations to my life, but I didn’t anticipate that a cat could teach me so much about wellness.
My cat has her wellness routine down. She wakes up (early) and the first thing she does is stretch, arching her back (cat pose, I get it now!) and then her front legs out long. Then, she vocalizes that she wants her breakfast; Evie is not afraid to ask for what she wants. Throughout the day, she alternates between lots of play time and meditation, staring idly through the panes of the sliding glass door, watching bugs fly around. Sometimes, she gets excited and I’ll rush over to see what the fuss is about. Most of the time, it’s literally a dust ball. She finds beauty in dust balls. This is transcendence, my friend. Evie also knows the importance of good sleep, of course. She doesn’t let anything get in the way of a good cat nap.
But besides living by a (surprising) example, science tells us owning a cat is actually good for you, too. Researchers have found that being a cat parent cuts your risk of having a heart attack or stroke down by more than a third. How so, you wonder? It’s because those little fur balls are great at lowering stress and anxiety. The mere act of petting an animal can significantly reduce anxiety. Even watching YouTube videos of kittens leads to a better mood.
Besides being a major mood booster, cats can help bone and muscle soreness, too—for real! The vibration of their happy little purrs literally does your body good. There’s also research that suggests people with a pet sleep better because it gives them a sense of security. While I can’t personally attest to that—my cat gets a thrill out of smacking her toys around between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.—I totally get how having a cat curled up on your bed can make you feel more relaxed and primed for a good night’s sleep.
Basically, cats are the freaking best. They’re cute and can help you live a healthier life. So this International Cat Day—it’s real, okay!—play with your feline, donate to a shelter, or hit up a cat cafe. It’s good for you.
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