Are cats magical? Possibly. #Cats have been shown to reduce blood pressure, relieve pain, and help children with autism and developmental disorders. Here are seven ways your feline friend can help you.

Stress reduction and Increased Happiness

When petting or cuddling with a cat, your bodily levels of the stress hormone cortisol lower. In addition, levels of happiness-inducing serotonin rise. Instead of taking up unhealthy stress-relief methods such as excessive drinking and smoking, why not snuggle up with a feline friend and feel the office woes of the day melt away?

Decreased Heart Attack Risk

A 20-year study showed that people who had never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a #Heart Attack than those who had owned a cat.

Want to decrease your chances of having a heart attack? Pet one cat BID. If particularly keen on avoiding a heart attack, increase dosage to 2-3 cats, multiple times per day.

Decreased Risk of Stroke

Another study showed that cat owners have fewer strokes. This could be partially due to the amount of time cat owners tend to spend on their feline friends, since time spent on Fluffy is time spent away from stressful situations. In addition, cats tend to be some of the most low-maintenance and stress-free animals to care for.

Lower Risk of Allergies and/or Asthma

New studies provide evidence that growing up with a cat may reduce a child's chance of developing allergies or asthma later in life. This may be due to the fact that cats' sweat glands produce dander, a common allergen. When children grow up with constant exposure to such allergens, their immune systems may be less reactive towards allergens in the future.

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Great Therapy Pets

Cats make great therapy pets, especially for children with autism and other developmental disorders. A particular case involving young Iris Grace Helmshaw and her therapy cat illustrates this. Iris, who is on the autism spectrum, was mostly nonverbal until she met therapy cat Thula. The two formed an immediate bond, and Thula became a constant, comforting presence in all of Iris' daily activities, helping her to reach out to the outside world.

Relief from Fibromyalgia and other Painful Disorders

Spending time with cats may help some people cope with fibromyalgia and other painful disorders. Spending time with and focusing on a cat can help people take their minds off of their pain. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that the frequency at which cats purr (between 25 and 140 Hz) has therapeutic and pain-reducing benefits. Sounds at the frequency of the typical cat's pur are thought to be therapeutic for bone growth/fracture healing, pain relief/swelling reduction, wound healing, muscle growth and repair/tendon repair, mobility of joints and the relief of dyspnoea.

Overall Health and Resulting Reduced Medical Costs

In general, cat owners make fewer visits to the doctor and hospital per year. In addition, a study showed that nursing homes that allowed patients to spend time with cats as a part of therapy had lower medication costs than nursing homes with no cat therapy.

Cats might not be unicorns, but they have been shown to provide #Health Benefits that could put even the most sparkly unicorn to shame. Cats have been linked to everything from lower blood pressure to pain relief in their owners. If you are a cat owner, take a break from reading articles to go snuggle your magical feline. It just might make you healthier!