I thought, “Holy Cow! An article about how awesome our cat is!”
Well, if you click the link, you’ll see that it’s not about Sauerkraut Kitty, it’s about Sauerkraut the stinky cabbage dish. When I saw what the article was really about, the juxtaposition to what I expected made it really funny.
But then I got to thinking about it, and I realized… Sauerkraut really can be the cure to my anxiety. Maybe I should broaden it to say that animals - our pets, the neighbor’s dog (that you like), the petting zoo, or helping out at the animal shelter - can do so much good for us.
HelpGuide.org summarizes the studies that have analyzed the health benefits of having a dog or cat:
- Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets
- People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months
- Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax
- Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets
- Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets
Not to mention, there is a whole class of animals that we so often can’t pet, but so many rely on every day: service animals. The Delta Society indicates that service animals, from dogs to cats to monkeys and even rats, can assist people with injuries, illness or disabilities including:
- Spinal cord/head trauma from injury or stroke
- Visual or hearing deficits
- Ataxia/poor balance
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Seizure disorders
- Cardio/pulmonary disease
- Psychiatric disabilities
From time to time, when I have to clean the litter boxes ...again... or when I have to take the dogs to the groomer, or go out in the rain to feed our rabbit April, I sometimes think… why do I want all these pets again?
But then I spend just a few minutes with little Sauerkraut in my arms, and I realize, I would do it all, for even half the benefit and twice the work. I get so much enjoyment, peace, and entertainment from the cats, the dogs, the kittens we foster, even the rabbit that lives in the back yard, I am positive I would have it no other way.
Social Anxiety, you ain't got nothin' on what a cat can bring you.