Owning a pet can benefit your health and well-being
June 2, 2016
Cats and other companion animals are used in pet-assisted therapy. This type of therapy is commonly used to help people with mental health problems or the elderly who experience feelings of loneliness or social isolation. Pets help facilitate bonding and trust building between patients and therapists. For patients, the animals encourage activity and provide a social connection and soothing physical contact.
According to Frédérique Hébert-Villeneuve, a pet therapy specialist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal, the mere presence of the animal reduces anxiety and encourages social interaction. "Pets add another element to the therapeutic process," says Mme Hébert-Villeneuve. "In our practice, we see clearly how the simple act of interacting with a cat can improve a patient's emotional well-being."
Cat lovers have long known that their feline friends make a positive difference in their lives. But studies suggest spending time with a cat may have a measurable impact on health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionFootnote 1, cats reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure and may strengthen the body's immune functions. That's something we can all purr about!
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