Pets and Mental Health.

by - 18:20:00

Hey everyone, hope you're well! ♥

Today's post is about our lovely little pets and how they help with our mental health. I've spoken about this before in my post about managing stress and anxiety.  The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress. I know not everyone will be able to relate to this blog post as you may not have a pet and I'm not telling you to go out and get a pet, but all the same, it's quite interesting to learn about.

I grew up with pets practically all my life, I've had 3 cats, a hamster, and 9 rats but I've loved them all and they've given me so much joy. I have since moved out of my family home but I had the lovely Otis.

Every so often I visit home and see him though - he still loves me even though I left him! In my new home I have my adorable hamster Xavier - he's so playful and the fluffiest little hamster you ever did see. He always looks a mess but he can't help having so much fluff!

Research 🐈

There's been a study done by the Mental Health Foundation which you can read about in full here - this was done in 2011. It was aimed at owners of cats and they looked into the affect owning a cat can have on a person and if they help with your mental health.

The study included over 600 cat and non-cat owning respondents and with half who described themselves of having a mental health problem. It was found that 87 percent of those who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their well-being plus 76 percent advised that they coped better with their everyday life thanks to the company of their cat. A third of the respondents described that stroking a cat is calming and a helpful activity when they're feeling stressed or anxious.

It is often said as well that a cats purr can have a calming effect on us, we're still not too sure exactly why this happens but perhaps the constant purr is a nice sound for our minds to relax to.

I remember when I was feeling down and crying in my bedroom, I could hear my cat Otis run up the stairs, he jumped onto my bed and pawed at my hand. It was most probably just a coincidence and he just wanted some fuss, but it really made me smile. Did he know I was upset? Who knows. 


Positive impacts pets can have

It's not just about cats, any pet can have a positive impact on us. I still talk away at my hamster thinking he knows what I'm going on about! Here are some of the positive impacts I have found through researching: 

1. Great motivators. 
This might apply more to dogs or those pets that you need to walk. They can be so encouraging to owners by getting them out of the house. As you probably know already exercise is such a great thing for those who may be feeling stressed, anxious or just generally feeling down. Also if you're someone that struggles to leave the house, having a little companion by your side can be really helpful.

2. Calming. 
As seen in the study above the result that had come back is that having pets can help you feel calm. Just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet gives the owner a chance to relax and calm their minds. It is often said that the sound of a cats purr can be so calming for humans - the constant quiet purr and vibration.

3.Giving you a purpose.
Another positive of owning a pet is that it can give you a purpose day to day. Looking after a precious animal can be so rewarding, but also can help you to feel valuable and needed.

4. Social interaction. 
Similar to the first point, if you are often going out walking your dog it can lead to social interactions as you may pass other dog owners who speak to you. Also if you're in a social situation you'll probably find that a big thing in common is your love for animals. I could definitely go on and on about my pets! It is also known that people who have more social relationships tend to be mentally healthier.

5.They can help with loneliness. 
Pets give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the day with. They can be great companions and can be especially valuable company for those in later life and living alone. There are studies out there that suggest that a dog can be a stress buffer that softens the effects of certain events on a person, it is thought that with an animal in the home people with Alzheimer's are thought to have fewer anxious outbursts.

My thoughts

I can't really imagine a life without a pet, seeing as I've grown up with pets and never not had one I feel like my life would be a little bit empty without one. They're so special and precious and all they do is love you, to them you're pretty much their whole life. Looking into this and seeing so much research done around this subject I can see how helpful a pet can be for your mental health.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was a bit more personal and chatty than the usual more informative post but I enjoyed writing it.

p.s. if you're looking for a new book to read and you love animals I'd recommend this one↓

It's called Felix The Railway Cat - Felix is a very special employee for Yorkshire's Huddersfield train station. She has the job of being a pest controller but she changes lives and brings happiness to many. Such a heartwarming read, would really recommend.

Do you have any pets?

As always,
Chat soon πŸ’—

(He thinks I can't see him).


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  1. This post made me so happy. My pets have always helped with my mental health, recently my dog died, and I still have my cat, but without my cat I just don't know how I would be. I absolutely agree that they help a lot with this kind of stuff. I loved reading about Otis coming up to you and purring when you were sad. My cat sometimes does that and I always think it's a coincidence but sometimes I do feel like she's trying to make me happier. Lovely post! Lots of love xxx

    1. Aww I'm so glad it has made you happy! Sorry to hear about your dog :( I'm definitely the same, I don't know how I could not have any pets - they make me so happy! Yeah I did think is it a coincidence or does he know somehow?? They're so precious bless them. xxx

  2. I agree, I really think pets help mental health. I've always had pets as well, and nothing can cheer you up quite as well as seeing their cute faces after a rough day. Great post!

    1. Definitely! They just lift your mood instantly, thank you xx

  3. Oh my goodness, otis and Xavier are soooo cute! ❤ I have two cats, black and white sisters called Elphie and Glinda. They definitely know when I'm upset as I get extra cuddles (well head butts in Glinda's case��) I've had cats all my life, they are definitely a calming influence ��

    1. Aww thank you, aren't they just adorable! <3 Aw your cats sound lovely, I love that Glinda head butts you haha, but yes definitely, such calming animals xx

  4. Love this I'm such a big cat lover! Definitely going to try the book also! Thank you x

  5. I agree that pets can for sure have a positive impact/effect on your mental health. My cat passed away and in terms of my mental health, I feel like having her around me and being able to pat her and cuddle with her whenever I wanted used to give me such a boost mental health wise. I definitely notice the difference since she passed.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    1. Cats are so lovely, they're such calming pets to be around. I'm sorry for your loss :( xx