Cats and Their Owners Can Reduce Stress Together
We tend to think of cats as independent creatures, but humans have a bigger influence on these furry-friends than you might think. When our habits and stress negatively impacts our cats, it’s our jobs to help boost their health.
A recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that cats adopt their pet owner’s bad habits and adapt their lifestyle patterns to match their human’s patterns. In the study, cats that stayed close to their owners adapted their lifestyle to match their owners. They had similar eating, sleeping, activity, and bathroom patterns. Cats that lived “semi-dependent” became more nocturnal like feral cats. This occurs partially because cats have long memories and experience emotions, just like humans. Cats’ gray matter is similar to that of a human brain, and because of this, cats are able to pick up on human emotions and patterns and adjust their life accordingly.
A cat’s daily routine isn’t the only thing that can be influenced by humans. Human habits and routines can also lead to stress and obesity in cats. According to recent studies, 47 million cats are overweight or obese and many of these cases are contributed to pet owners overfeeding their pets while offering little exercise. Cats can also experience stress due to our loud noises, routine changes, or lack of cleanliness.
Do you want to boost your cat’s health and reduce your stress? You can do both simultaneously with the right activities.
Listed below are three stress-relieving tips for cats and their owners.
- Exercise together. Physical activity is important for both you and your pet. So, be sure to exercise together every day. Your cat requires only 10 to 15 minutes, so you’ll need to reserve additional time to exercise on your own. You can run on a treadmill while your cat uses a cat exercise wheel. Or consider teaching your cat to walk on a leash so you can go on walks together.
- Rethink your diet. Cats and their owners both need balanced meals for healthy living. Be sure that your cat has protein (beef, chicken, fish, lamb, or turkey), fats (like omega-2 fatty acids), carbohydrates (like beets), and certain amounts of vitamins. You can benefit from these nutrients too. And don’t forget about water. Dehydration can have very serious health complications for cats, just as it does for humans. Remember that cats need the same amount of water as the number of kilo-calories eaten per day.
- Schedule cuddling time. Studies show that cuddling our pets can lower our stress. Petting your cat releases feel-good hormones, which lowers your heart rate, and helps you relax. Pet owners aren’t the only ones who can benefit from cuddling time. Studies show that cats and other mammals experience similar sensations. Stroking a cat stimulates a set of neurons known as MRGPRB4+, which can possibly reduce stress. So, don’t forget to spend time petting your cat every day.