MISSOURI, USA: According to a recent survey conducted by Purina Cat Chow, 85 percent of cat owners agree that they have had therapeutic benefits from their cats and that becoming a cat owner has improved their quality of life (86 percent).
While three-fourths of cat owners agree that society does not understand the benefits of having a cat, nearly all (94 percent) agree that many people can benefit from spending time with cats.
"While most people tend to associate therapy animals with dogs, cats also provide a variety of mental and physiological benefits," said Dr Annie Valuska, Ph.D., senior pet behaviour expert at Purina Cat Chow.
"Cat owners often have lower stress levels than non-pet owners, which can improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health over time. Cats can also boost our mental health, decreasing feelings of loneliness and increasing a sense of purpose."
The survey confirmed that while most (94 percent) pet owners associate dogs with animal-assisted therapy, only 41 percent of pet owners associate cats with therapy animals.
However, more people, especially cat owners, understand the special benefits cats provide, with 72 percent of cat owners believing cats could be effective therapy partners and 60 percent interested in learning more about how their cat could potentially improve others' lives.
The survey was conducted by Dynata across a sample size of 2,500 pet owners across the US. Data was collected between August 14-24, 2020 and was carried out online.