Popular as dogs are with their devoted owners, there are actually more cat companions in the U.S. than canines – 16 million more, in fact.
And while your kitty won’t encourage you to exercise by begging to go out for a hike, research shows the sound of a cat’s purr can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress.
According to USA Today:
“Research shows that being able to care for a pet improves our morale, helps validate us and encourages us to take care of ourselves,” says Rebecca Johnson, director of the University of Missouri's Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. The body of research is leading more retirement communities and universities to roll out the welcome mat for pets.
Some parents have discovered the family cat can help teach children the values of compassion and gentleness. Most dogs will allow family members to wrestle with them, chase after them, and roughhouse. In fact, many dogs live for that type of interaction.
Cats on the other hand, do not. If a child (or anyone) treats a cat roughly or aggressively, kitty will bolt from the room, putting an end to the interaction between human and pet. So children learn the difference between sturdier, more tolerant pets and those that require careful, gentle handling.