woman hugging red persian cat

Hug Your Cat: It’s Good for your Health!

Last Updated on May 12, 2021 by Holly Anne Dustin

June 4th is Hug Your Cat Day. Today would be a good day to give your cat an extra snuggle of thanks for all the scientific health benefits of owning a cat. Just spending 15 minutes with your furbaby will improve your well being and have a positive effect on your physical, psychological, social, and emotional health.

“Pets are powerful, positive influences on our lives, offering unique emotional, psychological and physical health benefits to their owners,”

Dr. Douglas Aspros, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Cat Lovers Have Better Heart Health

The average pet owner lives longer than someone who doesn’t own a pet. Living with a cat reduces the stress hormone in your system. Petting your kitty lowers your blood pressure and reduces cholesterol.

Cuddling your kitty reduces your risk of heart disease. Cat owners have 40% less risk of a heart attack. Their risk of stroke is reduced by 30%.  Heart patients had improved cardiac function after a visit from a therapy pet.

Playing with your cat can help keep you fit, especially if you teach him to walk on a leash and take him hiking and adventuring with you.

Purring Reduces Pain

Pain relief is one health benefit of cat’s purring. Joint replacement patients use fewer pain medications if they receive pet therapy.

Hugging your cat releases oxytocin and endorphins which are powerful pain relievers. A cat’s purr provides therapeutic benefits for joints and bones. Purring increases bone density and reduces the risk for osteoporosis. Broken bones heal faster in patients that own cats.

Cat guardians report less health complaints like headaches and backaches.

Health Benefits of Owning a Cat for Children

Little Girl with Kitten|Health Benefits from Owning Cats
Children’s’ Health Benefits from Owning Cats

Exposure to pets strengthens a baby’s immune system. Children that grow up with pets have fewer allergies, eczema, and a lower risk of asthma. They have fewer ear infections and respiratory problems.

There appears to be therapeutic benefits in cat ownership for children with autism.  Autistic kids are calmed by cats. They are more likely to have positive social actions after interacting with their cats. They value the relationship with their kitties as much as typically developing children do. Petting cats increases empathy and feelings of affection.

A Scottish survey of youth ages 11-15 that lived with a cat had a higher quality of life than those that didn’t. The more bonded they were with their cat the more likely they were to report that they were less sad, less lonely, more energetic, focused better, and enjoyed life more.

Grow Your Bond with Your Cat…

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Cats Reduce Stress

Hugging your cat reduces stress and anxiety. Petting a cat for 15-30 minutes increases serotonin and lowers depression. A cat’s purring can have a similar effect to meditation.

Cats can help the grieving recover from their loss. They serve as a social support and help them work through their feelings. Cat guardians report feeling less negative emotions and feelings of seclusion.

Forty-one percent of people say they sleep better because of their cats, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Single people with cats are in a bad mood less often than  people with no pets, and people with cats and a romantic partner.

Psychological Health Benefits of Having a Cat

Even watching cat videos on the internet can increase positive emotions. Taking care of keeping a cat safe and happy can offer a sense of purpose.

Cats provide companionship and unconditional acceptance. A 2003 study compares having a relationship with a cat to having a romantic relationship.

Cats do not deserve their reputation for being antisocial or opportunistic. They seem aware of their human’s moods and act in ways that help to relieve their anxiety, stress or depression.

Felines make excellent therapy pets for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders, and depression. A cat’s cry elicits a similar human emotional response as a baby’s cry. Their kitty’s need for care and maintenance can give a depressed person a powerful reason to keep going.  A feline friend can be a lifeline for people, especially those who don’t have communal or family support.

In a 2011 survey by Cats Protection, 87% of cat owners with mental health issues said their cats had a positive impact on their well-being. Over 70% said they coped better with daily life.

An Australian study on mental health benefits of cats reports that cat owners have better psychological health than people without cats. Cat people claim to feel happier and more confident, focus better, and face their problems more successfully.

man and woman hugging kittens

Emotional and Social Health Benefits of Owning a Cat

In addition to the physical and psychological health benefits of owning a cat, our feline friends improve our social life.

Cats are a natural conversation starter. Women report an attraction to men that have cats, seeing them as sensitive and intelligent.

Taking care of a pet can bring a family together. Cat people are more trusting of others than people who don’t have pets. They are more sensitive, open minded, and aware of the feelings of others.

People who have a firm bond with their pets have stronger relationships and more connections in their community. Cat owners are typically more compassionate, modest and trustworthy and less calculating.

Cat lovers are typically introverted, but they are likely to take on a leadership role in their social circles, be open-minded, unconventional thinkers, creative and imaginative, intelligent people.

woman hugging a cat on pin image

Cats Reduce Loneliness

Having a feline friend reduces loneliness. Loneliness carries an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cats can help the older population increase overall well being. Although some rescue groups refuse adoptions to older people, matching a senior cat with a senior citizen can be a win for all.


Loneliness and risk of Alzheimer disease. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;64(2):234-40.

Reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes
Why do Cats Purr
Reduced Respiratory Disease in Children
Scientific Benefits of Owning a Cat
Pets Prevent Allergies in Children
Benefits of Cats for Children on Autism Spectrum
It is Healthy to be a Cat Lady
Power of Cats to Treat PTSD
Purring the Blues Away
Women Really Do Have a Special Bond with Cats
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23 thoughts on “Hug Your Cat: It’s Good for your Health!”

  1. So true (of course I feel the same about my dogs, too)! Growing up with cats (there wasn’t a stray my Mom nor I could ignore!) they always made us feel better with that beautiful purring and “making biscuits!” Our adopted feral when he decides to hop up on our lap, it is such a warm feeling! I love what Julia above called it, “Purr Therapy!”

  2. I’d like to think that I am VERY healthy, since we have 5 cats! Haha! I actually found out about this special day last minute and posted a photo of our Garfield hugging ME on our Instagram! 🙂

  3. Julia Williams

    Purr Therapy is the best for whatever ails you!! I find it funny that there’s a Hug Your Cat Day — EVERY day is a hugging day here! One of my two cats is a love bug, she can’t get enough hugs. That works for me!

  4. Some of my cats will let me hug them, others, not so much!! If I had my way, I’d hug them all, 24/7. Thanks for stopping by my blog today and I’m so glad you like my new T-shirt designs! Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang.

  5. Hi. I never knew there was a hug your cat day. There definitely should be a feed your cat companions lots of cream and cheese treats day. I’ll take that over a hug anyway. Mol we cats can save the world. Might be one human at a time, but it can be done, and for all the great reasons in your post.
    Have a great week.
    Toodle pips and purrs

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