Cats offer therapeutic benefits on a daily basis, and for some of our Highland County, Virginia, senior citizens that companionship can increase mental and emotional health every single day.
Psychologists agree cats can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, fulfill social interaction needs/reduce loneliness, and have an astounding effect on symptoms of depression and anxiety.
And, when you’re homebound or stuck inside for the winter, those benefits can make all the difference in the world! (For seniors and non-seniors…so… let’s all just get a cat!)
Health Benefits for Seniors
Seniors who live with a cat feel mentally, emotionally, and physically better. In addition to the aforementioned perks, cats can help reduce cholesterol, lower cortisol levels, and improve mood.
Now, normally, when we throw out facts like this, we want to find evidence to back them up. After spending about an hour looking at medical and psychological studies ranging from Washington State University to Indiana University, we came to our own personal conclusion: There are legit scientific facts that show cats boost our well-being. We even read something called The Catnip Times, and there is another study out there that indicates people are happier with a cat than a human companion! Bottom line – our findings, based on scientific research, show cats have varying beneficial effects on all humans.
A Kitty to Care For
An empty nest can also mean a lonely home. Once the kids have grown and are busy raising families of their own, seniors are often left feeling alone. And, after caring for a full family for many years, seniors miss looking after loved ones. A friendly feline could be the perfect solution.
A cat can offer seniors a positive daily responsibility that keeps them alert and active while fulfilling a sense of purpose. If you live alone or know someone who does, a cat is the ideal solution – seniors have an adorable companion to look after, meaning they’ll be less likely to become bored, depressed, or lonely.
Easy to Care For
Compared to dogs, cats are relatively low-maintenance pets. An indoor cat doesn’t need to go outside for a bathroom break nor do they need long walks to tire them out. Cats are easily entertained by toys, and a kitty litter tray is simple to keep clean. All they ask for is a warm lap where they’re content to simply be near their owners, purring and petted.
Choosing the Right Cat
The Highland County Humane Society is ready to match a senior up with the right kitty. Want a lap cat? A mouser? A goofball to entertain you? They’ve got all ages, shapes, and sizes! Additionally, HCHS covers all vet care, food, and supplies. You just supply the love!
Contact them today at (540) 908-9152 about their foster care program – Cats for Laps! You can also visit their website at www.HighlandCountyHumaneSociety.org or follow them on Facebook.
For more information about choosing the right kitty match, we suggest checking out this article from AgingCare.com that outlines 10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Pet for a Senior.
We hope you find your puuur-fect companion!
About the Author
Dorothy Stephenson grew up on her family's cattle operation in Meadowdale, located in the southwest corner of Highland County. When she wasn't on horseback helping her father gather and work cattle, you'd likely find her (still on horseback) jumping creeks in her family's nearby "Big Pasture." Today, though she doesn't ride horses much anymore, she has her own cattle, land, and expansion plans for a farm. Additionally, (and with the inherited, Stephenson, entrepreneurial spirit) she owns two small businesses in Highland County - Sundance Media & Design and Sundance Studio & Productions, which houses another of Dorothy's long-time loves - Clogging. Dorothy loves exploring new places, skills, and ideas, and she intends to live life to the fullest as long as it will let her. (Oh! And she LOVES Christmas!)