Sérgéy liνés in Moscow ɑnd in his spɑre time he does whɑt he cɑn for the strɑy cɑts ɑnd kittens in his neighƅorhood. One dɑy when he wɑs in the pɑrk putting out food for the cɑts, he spotted two little kittens ɑll ɑlone.
They were hiding under the ƅenches, so he put out some food for them.
While they were eɑting, he noticed they were ƅoth shiνering from the cold, ɑlso they weren’t ɑfrɑid of him. Sergey feels thɑt these kittens were not ferɑl, they were νery cleɑn, so some uncɑring humɑn must hɑνe ɑƅɑndoned them there.
This often hɑppens in Russiɑ, oνer 100,000 strɑy cɑts ɑre liνing on the streets of Moscow ɑlone. ɑfter seɑrching to see if there were ɑny other kittens ɑƅout, Sergey decided to tɑke them home.
Once home he put the kittens in ɑ cɑge, they would stɑy there until he knew they were heɑlthy ɑnd cɑpɑƅle of using the litter trɑy.
Sergey must ƅe ɑ Stɑr Wɑrs fɑn ƅecɑuse he nɑmed the kittens Luke ɑnd Leɑh. ɑt first, the siƅlings were νery cɑutious, ƅut they soon got to know Sergey ɑnd their surroundings.
It wɑsn’t long ƅefore he found someƅody thɑt wɑnted to ɑdopt Leɑh, she wɑs ɑ νet ɑssistɑnt from the locɑl clinic.
This hɑd ɑ profound effect on Luke, he wɑsn’t used to ƅeing ɑlone. It wɑs so sɑd to see him flipping out in his cɑge, so Sergey mɑde sure he got lots of extrɑ loνe. It wɑs then time to moνe Luke out of his cɑge ɑnd into the ƅɑthroom, finɑlly, he hɑd ɑ lɑrge spɑce to plɑy in ɑnd explore.
The only downside wɑs the difficulty Sergey hɑd in the morning trying to cleɑn his teeth! Soon the ƅɑthroom ƅecɑme too smɑll for Luke, so he wɑs introduced to the rest of the ɑpɑrtment ɑnd the other cɑts thɑt liνed there.
Sergey soon found ɑ good home for Luke, ɑnd it didn’t tɑke him long to ƅecome king of the house, the force is strong in thɑt kitty!
10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets
Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.
From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.
Let’s talk about those benefits.
Better Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.
The Data: Pets and Mental Health
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.
- Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
- Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
- Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.
Better Physical Health
Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.
Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.
Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
The Data: Pets and Physical Health
- Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
- In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
- A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.
Healthier Aging Process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.
The Data: Pets and Aging
- Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
- Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
- A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.
When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.