Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Pets are Good for Your Health

At a job interview about five years ago, I was chatting with the interviewer about having just moved to Buffalo. I mentioned that I'd considered getting a cat, but couldn't decide if the extra responsibility was worth it. He said, "Get a cat...or a plant. You need to surround yourself with living things."

Research has proven him right. Not only are pet owners less stressed, but they're also less lonely and have more self-esteem.

Here's what having a pet can do for you:
  1. Reduce stress. Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that, compared with non-pet owners, pet owners experienced lower heart rates and lower blood pressure. And a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute found that cat owners were less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than persons without feline companions.
  2. Keep your waistline trim.  According to an NIH study, dog owners who walked their dogs were more active and less likely to be obese, and older dog walkers were better able to move around their homes.
  3. Ward off loneliness. A 2011 study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that pets may provide social support. They found that pet owners were less lonely, had more self-esteem, and were more outgoing and physically active. 

Cat Brings Joy to Residents and Staff at Adult Home

Residents and staff at St. Vincent's of Dunkirk, an adult home, love having a pet – five-year-old Vinny the cat (pictured with a St. Vincent's resident).

Administrator Deborah Smith explains, "He was a stray that came to stay on our patio before Christmas five years ago."

After a Patient Care Assistant took Vinny to the vet, it was decided that the feline would live at St. Vincent's. 

Vinny is a social cat, visiting everyone throughout the facility. He takes turns napping in residents' rooms. He rides on some of the ladies' walkers, and watching the squirrels on the lawn is a favorite hobby.

Deborah says that many residents had a cat at some time in their life, and he brings them great comfort.

Visitors and staff also enjoy his company.

"Most of the regular visitors look for Vinny each time they visit, and they bring him treats and toys. One of our associates has several pets, and Vinny follows her around like a little puppy while she is working."

Vinny has his own room upstairs, which keeps him active as he travels from place to place.


  1. When pet's are not good for your health= when your cat jumps on your dinner table and scares the beejeebee's outta you!

  2. Actually, you scared the beejeebees out of her with your piercing scream! :) On the bright side, she must be used to you, because she usually isn't so brazen in front of strangers.


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