In Times Of Stress One Of The Most Valuable Assets Is A Supportive Relationship

I’m sure this is no news to most of you, but a recent study found that cat owners are significantly less likely to suffer from the winter blues:

HAYWARDS HEATH, England — Cat owners are significantly less likely to suffer the physical and emotional symptoms of the ‘winter blues’, a new study has found.

Findings from the five-year research project, carried out for charity Cats Protection*, show that cats help ease the stress of the New Year gloom.

The study shows that during the dreary months of January and February cat owners:

– Suffer 60% less headaches than non-cat owners

– Are 21% less likely to catch a cold or ‘flu

– Feel significantly less miserable, impatient and tense

Psychologist Dr June McNicholas, who conducted the research, also found cat owners suffer fewer sleep problems, are less likely to feel tearful and are more able to relax than those who do not own a cat.

The research was carried out over five years to compare the physical and psychological stress suffered by cat owners and non-cat owners during January and February.

Common complaints associated with the New Year – or the “Winter Blues” – can include headaches, colds, sleep problems, feeling tearful, tense and miserable and having difficulty in concentrating and relaxing.

The study showed that cat owners experienced significantly less physical and emotional problems during the first two months of the year.

Dr McNicholas said: “The findings are quite spectacular and show that cat owners are much better equipped to deal with the depressing months of January and February.

“Medical opinion has long held that in times of stress or anxiety one of the most valuable assets is a supportive relationship. This study suggests that cats are just as able to provide that support as humans.

“The study shows benefits to owners of both genders and across all age groups, but male owners under 40 seem to especially benefit from the companionship of a cat during the winter.”

Director of Veterinary Services for Cats Protection, Maggie Roberts, said: “There’s nothing quite like having a purring cat on your lap on a cold winter evening to lift your spirits, as this research shows.

“There are many reasons why cats can help. They are not judgemental and they have modest needs which can provide owners with a sense of purpose and they are also great fun to play or interact with.

“As cats tend to spend more time indoors during the winter months, owners will have more contact with them than in the summer, and this can be a real comfort at such a gloomy time of year.

“Research also shows cats can boost their owner’s immune system, so they are great to have when there are coughs and sneezes doing the rounds.”

*Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 157,000 cats and kittens per year through a national network of 252 volunteer-run branches and 29 adoption centres.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Luxor: Visit Luxor’s Blog | Visit Lux on Catster]