I am a animal lover. This friday, I passed by a pet store and their was a cat waiting for adoption. I went in front of its cage and it reached out its paw from the cage. I petted it through the cage and I just feel very happy and relaxed. After I go home, I kept wondering if pets, or cats, really have a calming effect. I searched online and found out that cat owners have lower heart attack risk.
Cat helps with heart diseases.
Having a cat as a pet can actually lower your risk of having heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases by nearly 30 percent. There was a research that studied 4435 participants and 2435 (55%) of them are cat owners. I think this is a relatively big sample size. Participants who are healthy and without cardiovascular diseases, entered the study in 1970s and were followed up for 10 years. The null hypothesis would be owning a cat has no effect on lower risk of heart diseases and the study result has rejected the null hypothesis, showing evidence that owning a cat is related to lower heart diseases risk. The study adjusted some potential confounding variables such as “age, cholesterol, race/ethnicity and cigarette smoking”. The result shows that past cat owners have significantly lower risk of death due to heart diseases. It also shows a trend of increasing risk of death due to heart diseases for those who do not own a cat. On the other hand, surprisingly, owning a dog does not have any association with reducing heart diseases.
However, correlation does not equal to causation. The research result does not mean having a cat cause you to have lower heart diseases rate. As the research has also mention, the reason of this result may be that those people who own a cat has different lifestyles than those who do not own a cat or own a dog. Maybe for a cat owner, they spend more time just sitting there and petting their cats. Unlike those who own dogs, who have to walk their dogs everyday. Having a cat may also have relationship to having a more harmonious lifestyle. Therefore, although some of the confounding variables are in control, there can still be other variables that may affect the result.
”Put a cat in a room with a bunch of broken bones – the bones will heal.”
Other than the fact that owning a cat can help enhance your heart health, cats’ purr is believed to have healing power. The above saying is from old veterinarians and it is still known nowadays. Cats’ purr can not only heal bones and soft tissues, but can also decrease the symptoms of dyspnea. Dr. Clinton Rubin’s research has proved that bones can heal when exposed to sound frequencies between 20-50 Hz. A cat’s purr is exact 25 Hz and 50 Hz.
Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, a research scientist and bio-acoustic specialist, did research that shows that cats’ purr heals by recording the frequency of members in the cat family. An interview with Elizabeth online tells us about Elizabeth’s research. She claimed that all kinds of cats have a purring frequency at 50 Hz and it can help with “muscle, tendon, ligament injuries, joint injury, wound healing, reduction of infection and swelling, pain relief, and relief of chronic pulmonary disease.” Cats can purr when they are in pain and the purring is believed to be self-healing. The article mentioned that researches and statistics have shown that cats have much lower tendencies than dogs to have bones or muscle injuries. However, I think this may not be directly related to the healing power of cats’ purr. It may because of life dogs include much more running around and jumping; or it may because of the difference between cats and dogs’ bone structures.
Although many people do believe that cat purring heals, there is yet no scientific evidence for us to reject the null hypothesis (cats’ purring has nothing to do with healing) and more statistics and researches should be needed.
In conclusion, owning cats are proved to be correlated to lower risk of having heart diseases but whether cats’ purring has healing effect still need more scientific studies. However, those of you who own a cat can try to put them by your side while sleeping to try if you really have a different feeling.