Kitten in red gift box

4 Scientific Reasons Why a Cat is the Purrfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Date: February 9, 2016

Author: Andrea Tarbet, Product Marketing Associate at ALPCO

It’s that time of the year again. The time of year when you search high and low for a Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone. Not just any gift. The kind of gift that lights up your special someone’s entire face and makes a smile appear ear to ear. This year, you don’t have to go to the jewelry store or flower shop. The perfect gift for your special someone is no further than the closest animal shelter where you can adopt a cat! Don’t believe a cat would be the purrfect Valentine’s gift? Here are 4 scientific reasons why:

Cats can paws-itively affect stress and blood pressure levels

Many studies have shown that pet ownership (including cats) can help reduce stress and blood pressure1,2. One study showed that pet owners had significantly lower baseline heart rate and blood pressure levels than non-pet owners. When faced with stressful tasks such as math problems, the pet owners had lower increases in blood pressure, especially when their pets were in the room with them2. A cat is a multitasking gift!

Cats may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in owners

A follow-up study on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES II) found that participants who owned a cat at someone point in their life had a lower risk of fatal myocardial infarction events and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) compared to participants who never owned a cat3. By giving a cat, you can possibly help lower the risk of CVD for your special someone. Who wouldn’t want that?

Cats may reduce respiratory tract illnesses in infants

Is your special someone new to this world? Then a cat is a perfect gift! A study concluded that infants living in a household with a cat had more healthy weeks than infants living in non-cat households4. Occurrences of cough, otitis, and rhinitis were lower in cat household dwelling infants4. Additionally, infants living in cat households required less antibiotics than infants in non-cat households4. Just make sure your special little someone doesn’t pull the cat’s tail and you are golden.

Watching cat videos can make people happy

A recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior surveyed thousands of internet users regarding viewing cat content on the internet and their emotional wellbeing after watching the content5. The results concluded that watching cat videos on the internet can elevate the mood of the viewer5. By giving your special someone a cat, they can create their own cat videos and post them on the internet for thousands to watch. What better way to continuously bring joy to people everywhere? A cat is a gift that keeps giving happiness!

While cat ownership is extremely rewarding and may pawsitively affect your health, when deciding whether to adopt a feline companion, please remember becoming a pet parent is a big responsibility. If you don’t think your special someone is ready for a cat commitment, just watch some relaxing cat videos online instead.

Happy (and healthy) Valentine’s Day cat cuddling!

References

  1. Allen et al. (2001). Pet ownership, but not ACE inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress. Hypertension, 38, 815-820.
  2. Allen et al. (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: the truth about cats and dogs. Psychosom Med, 64(5), 727-39. PMID: 12271103
  3. Qureshi et al. (2009). Cat ownership and the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases. Results from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study Mortality Follow-up Study. J Vasc Interv Neurol, 2(1), 132–135. PMID: PMC3317329
  4. Bergroth et al. (2012). Respiratory tract illnesses during the first year of life: Effect of dog and cat contacts. Pediatrics, 130(2), 211.
  5. Myrick. (2015). Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches internet cats, why, and to what effect? Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 168–176. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.06.001