…in America anyway! Cats seem to be a more popular pet than dogs are these days – not a surprise to us, as we have five lovely bundles of kitty fluff – but a research report by the University of Minnesota confirmed that over the pond in the good old US of A cats outnumber dogs 88 million to 74 million.
Why are there nearly 16 per cent more felines than doggies in American homes?
Perhaps the main reason is that they are such great – and easy! – pets to have. They don’t need to be walked and are fairly independent. Aside from changing cat litter trays, playing with them with a kitty toy when you make time, and feeding and watering them, they are fairly independent animals.
Unlike doggies, kitties like to keep their own company and are not attention seeking and in your face a lot of the time. They will occasionally want your company, and some petting and TLC, but mostly they like to sleep – and cats do tend to sleep from 16 to 20 hours every day and only wake up sporadically for 10 – 15 minutes each time – in a quiet out-of-the-way place that is their selected hiding spot.
Akira and Buffy’s not-so-hidden hiding spots
Some cats, like Akira, choose their hiding spot as the corner of your desk so that they can be in your company without being on your lap. Akira’s ‘hiding spot’ is perfect for him to see me when he opens his eyes but far enough away while I am working that I’m not bothering him or keeping him awake.
This is the same for Buffy, who likes to sleep on a rolled-up towel on the counter opposite the cooker in the kitchen, next to the fridge. Secretly I think she’s just watching what meat is on the go when we’re making dinner, but she also has a habit of popping her head round the fridge door whenever we open it to, as if she’s checking out what might be easily available for her to pilfer when our back is turned.
The heart-felt benefits of owning a cat
Aside from being neat freaks who clean themselves, meaning you don’t have to fight them into a bath to bathe them on a regular basis, petting a cat actually reduces anxiety and stress, decreasing the risk of heart attacks by up to a whopping 40 per cent. Their cute rumbling purrs have also found to not just be relaxing and comforting, but the vibrations from them (which range from 20 – 140 Hz – the latter being our Buffy, whose purr is the loudest of our five rescue cats) actually lower blood pressure, and have healing properties – promoting strong bone, especially if the cat is putting while lying on your lap, and decreasing shortness of breath.
Cats are also, in our opinion anyway, an excellent source of emotional support. Many cat parents will tell you that their cats, like ours, just seem to know when they are down and come round for fussing and loving, and to rub their faces against yours, to try and cheer you up and let you know that they are there for you, and that they secretly love you too., in their own way.
Other benefits of having a cat
They are easily trained – yes, like a dog – but cats have a quicker pick-up to anything good for them than puppies do. For example, hunting and using the litter tray. In America, a number of Humane Societies are part of a Working Cats program that finds formerly feral cats homes in barns and places in need of pest control so the cats can do what comes naturally to them – hunt prey. See our previous blog all about this happening with the ‘Ghostbusters’: http://www.mymoggiesandme.co.uk/ghostbusters-prove-feral-cats-just-cats/
For those of you with cats, the Journal of Pediatrics in Finland states that “children are less likely to become ill with allergies and respiratory issues” if they are in a household with cats, as having the cats around helps them “develop a strong immune system”.
In short, aside from making you happy (aka the YouTube cat video craze everyone seems to have been affected by being just one example of the feel-goods of even just watching kitties, let alone having one) a cat can fit into a busy working schedule and, as Americans only get an average of 10 paid leave days every year, this may explain why the cat is King over the pond.