PD depression? Not with our six cats. The soothing nature of petting a cat on your lap is not limited to stress relief. That tangible companionship is a known mood booster, and a positive distraction for those who struggle with depression disorders. Beyond their companionship, pets provide a way to add routine, responsibility and social activity to days that might otherwise not include such components. And while all pets can help play a role in improving depression symptoms, cats are particularly calm and peaceful, and those characteristics can be contagious for their owners in a rather helpful way.
According to a 2008 study from researchers at the University of Minnesota's Stroke Institute, cat owners are less likely to die from heart attacks. Monitoring nearly 4,500 people (three out of five participants owned a cat) for a 10-year period, the researchers were able to determine that the cat owners experienced a 30 percent reduced risk of death by heart attack than the participants without cats. A 2009 follow-up study further established that cat ownership is linked to a decreased risk of death from all cardiovascular diseases, including strokes.