8 Benefits of Being a Cat Owner

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Erin McCarthy

The war between cat and dog people is vicious and will probably never end. Here’s some ammunition for the next time you're talking to one of those horrible dog lovers.

1. You're Smart!

A study of British pet owners found that people who owned cats tended to be smarter than their dog loving counterparts. Both in terms of IQ score and overall level of education, people who own cats come out on top in the brains department. It’s probably not the cat itself making you smarter, though; the researchers conducting the study said that smarter people tend to work longer hours, and since cats require less attention than dogs they are a better choice for the busy intellectual.

2. It's Better for the Environment!

If you're worried about your carbon footprint, it’s better to own a cat. A 2009 study found that over its lifetime, the resources needed to feed a dog make the same eco-footprint as that of a Hummer. Meanwhile, cats—which eat less in general and are more likely to eat fish than corn or beef flavored products—only have the approximate carbon footprint of a Volkswagen Golf.

3. Helping You Cope!

Losing a loved one is incredibly painful, but one of the best ways of coping is to own a pet. Cats have been shown to help people get over their loss more quickly, and show less physical symptoms of pain, like crying. Despite the fact that they are only animals, cats serve as a social support during difficult times. People in mourning report talking to their pet to work out their feelings, since it is often easier to talk to something that won’t respond and can’t judge than to another human being.

4. Helping You Mate!

If you’re a single guy and you can’t seem to get a date, get a cat! A British poll found that 82 percent of women agreed they are more attracted to men who like animals. And while having a dog will do wonders for your dating life, a whopping 90 percent of single women said that men who own a cat are “nicer” than other guys. It seems women buy into the stereotype that cat owners are more sensitive and thoughtful, so listing that you own a cat on your dating profile could do wonders for the number of responses you get. But remember, a cat is for life, not just until you find a partner.

5. Heart Health!

Owning any pet is good for your heart. Cats in particular lower your stress level—possibly since they don’t require as much effort as dogs—and lower the amount of anxiety in your life. Petting a cat has a positive calming effect. One study found that over a ten year period cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners.

6. Companionship!

The stereotype that dogs are more affectionate than cats is just that: a stereotype. In fact, it turns out that cats can be just as good companions as dogs, especially for women. A 2003 Swiss study found that having a cat in the house is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner. As well as initiating contact much of the time, studies have shown cats will remember kindness shown to them and return the favor later.

But cats really do have the upper hand in these relationships. After thousands of years of domestication, cats have learned how to make a half purr/half howl noise that sounds remarkably like a human baby’s cry. And since our brains are programmed to respond to our children’s distress, it is almost impossible to ignore what a cat wants when it demands it like that.

7. A Reflection of Your Personality!

Owning a cat tells people a lot about your personality. While dog lovers tend to be the life of the party, cat owners are quieter and more introverted. However, they score very highly when it comes to how trustworthy they are and how much they trust other people. Cat owners are also less manipulative and more modest.

8. Stuff Like This!

[OK, dog people. This one's for you.]

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June 14, 2013 - 1:15pm
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