I am a freelance writer. This means I sometimes spend as much as ten hours a day arranging words on (digital) paper for money. Other times I spend an equal number of hours pursuing my next assignment or searching for my next client. It can all add up to more than a little stress—but I wouldn’t trade this career for the world. Fortunately, I have cats as pet stress relief to brighten each day.
These furry creatures have provided me with more in the way of relaxation and stress relief than any doctor-prescribed medication ever could. Frolicking and purring their way through each day—lightening moods and distracting from life’s nitty-gritty.
When I’m concentrating extra hard on my computer monitor, I will often feel the paw of my youngest cat, Tegan, reach up to scratch at my hand where it rests on the keyboard. “Meeoorrip?” she enquires. I’ve learned this means she wants me to stop what I’m doing and play for a bit. I’ve also learned that it’s good for me to do so—even if that means surrendering focus for a moment or two.
Her latest favorite ‘toy’ is a discarded shoelace. I whip it around my office floor so she can pounce—and I laugh with delight when she leaps or somersaults. Then I get back to work.
Scientists have found that cats do more than elevate our mood. A study conducted by the University of New York at Buffalo found that cats lower blood pressure! The simple act of stroking a cat actually can lower blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that cat owners have a 33 percent lower risk of stroke. They also found that those who share a home with cats are 30 to 40 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
I love my three cats, and I can say with confidence that they better my somewhat stressful life each and every day. How do your pets help you? We’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments.