Cats and Depression: How Our Cats Help With Mental Illness

You may think the words cats and depression have very little to do with one another. You’re wrong. Our feline friends can boost our mental health.

cats and depression
Sarah / Flickr

If you’re a cat lover, you will already know that having a pet changes the way that you feel on a daily basis. In fact, there is a major link between cats and depression. Owning one of these cute little fluffballs may help ward off that mental illness. With 15 million Americans suffering from depression in the modern world, it’s important that we look for answers. Well, here’s one of many things that people may want to try and why it just so happens to work.

Watching cat videos boosts your mood

Even if you don’t have a kitty of your own, cats can still help to lift your mood in the best possible way. Just head over to YouTube, and there are thousands upon thousands of cat-centric videos. From hilarious kittens to oh-so-cute felines, there’s something for everyone here. The next time you’re feeling a tad down, it may well be worth checking these clips out for yourself. The reason is simple: They might just change your mood.

In fact, according to a 2015 study from Indiana University found that after watching these videos, people reaped numerous emotional rewards. For example, they felt ‘fewer negative emotions’ and had more energy than before. What that suggests is that the small and seemingly insignificant act of watching cats online can genuinely make you happier.

Cats offer companionship to everyone

Often enough, people struggle when it comes to relating to other people. Social anxiety is a real thing and not something that should be overrated in any way, shape or form. What’s most troubling of all is that having this issue often leaves people feeling isolated from those around them. Since social interaction makes them uncomfortable, they find making genuine relationships with people particularly hard. Soon enough, this alienation from the world around them can lead to depression.

That’s where cats come into things. Felines offer a level of companionship like no other. The fact of the matter is that when you take the time to care for a kitty, they will love you back a great deal. When you come home from work, they will greet you at the door and show you the attention that you crave. Much of the time, it’s this level of companionship that can help people who are otherwise struggling. This is just one of the fundamental ways that cats and depression are linked.

Owning a pet is good for your mental health

You may have heard people say that pets are a waste of money, but nothing could be further from the truth. According to a study from the American Psychological Association, owning either a cat or dog can help your mental health. What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got good mental health or whether you’re struggling, this companionship seems to help you regardless of that fact.

The takeaway here is that looking after and caring for an animal really does make all the difference. When you have to take responsibility for a pet, it means that you think outside of yourself and begin to care for something else. Doing so is a seriously mentally healthy action. After all, it shows that you have empathy and want to help other living things. It’s no wonder that so many people love having a purring kitty at home!

Caring for a cat gives you routine

When you’re in the midst of depression, one of the things that all decent therapists will tell you is that you need some form of routine. Of course, without a normal routine, many people start to feel anxious, depressed, and generally out of sorts. So, if a person happens to be jobless or work irregular hours, they can quickly fall into a pattern that is likely to be detrimental to their mental health.

Caring for a cat is about more than merely having a pet; it gives people the routine that they so desperately need. When you have to get up to feed the cat or change their kitty litter, it means that you have no choice about it. Sometimes, it’s that tiny little push that really does make all the difference to someone’s mental health. Having the responsibility of looking after a pet means that they always go through the same motions, which is, of course, mentally healthy!

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