Depression (major depressive disorder) is an extremely common and serious medical illness which negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It may lead to a host of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
1 in 6 people are likely to experience depression in their lifetime, and studies suggest that those numbers will climb. Depression can hit at any time, no matter how young or old you are. As more and more of us become self aware in our mental health, it’s important to realize that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Depression is surely treatable, whether it’s through medication, different types of therapy, or various methods of self help. And our cats can actually help the humans claw their way out of states of depression!
The healing powers of a cat purrs.
A cats’ purrs have been scientifically proven to heal us physically. Cats create something called purr vibrations within a range of 20-140 Hz, known to be medically therapeutic for many illnesses.
A cats purr can decrease stress, decrease symptoms of dysponea, lower blood pressure, improve bone strength (yep, you read that right), and actually improve the health of muscles, tendons, and ligament injuries.
“If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.” – an old veterinary adage. Cat owners also possess a 40% less risk of a heart attack.
Cats give their humans purpose
A very common sign of depression is the inability to get out of bed. No, not physically, but mentally. You just want to disappear… but your fur baby won’t let that happen. Have you ever tried to sleep or nap in when you have a cat? It’s impossible. Your cat has a schedule, and your cat will always hold you to that.
You have to get up and feed your cat, you need to clean their poop box, and to simply pay attention to them when they demand it. These sound like just tiny tasks, but their life is in your hands, and that alone gives you purpose. That alone will help you to keep going.
Cats are good at keeping their humans distracted
Cats truly are just little awesome beings in a furry vessel. They make us laugh, they make us say smile, and sometimes they make us worry when their curiosity happens to get the best of them, but their weird little habits are a welcome distraction to watch. Have you ever just relaxed and watched your cat? Watched them get hyper like they do, get the crazies, or curiously stalk the bag you placed on the floor?
When the dark thoughts take hold of your brain, sometimes only your cat can bat them away.
Cats help us all feel loved and important
And there is nothing quite like knowing that your cat loves you. Cats are unfairly labeled as cold and heartless, however, that’s just simply not true. Our kitties truly love us, but they show it in different ways than say compared to a dog. Cats are more independent than dogs, yes, but that’s not necessarily a horrible thing. If anything, the fact that cats are a bit more independent, and they still decide to love you, it just means that much more.
So when your fur-baby follows you into some room, that cat is choosing to do so. That cat chooses to be near you when you’re sitting on the couch and they curl up in your lap or by your feet. You don’t have to have a lap cat in order to know your cat loves you. Cats show us love in so many different ways. A few of them include soft kisses (slow blinking), rubbing, purrs, belly showing, grooming, gifting, and sleeping near and beside us.
Knowing that after a long, hard day of work, that you are coming home to somebody waiting for you, that loves you, is sometimes all that you might need to get through the dark times.
“Whether you are clinically depressed or struggling through a tough time, the gentle purr of a loving cat can be the best salve if you feel no one understands you, or when you need a loving relationship that is uncomplicated by words and expectations and preconceptions,”
ShoKo, (Shorty and Kodi,) said.
The best part of all is that millions of cats need homes, so when you open yours, both of you benefit, and two lives are saved. If you are struggling with depression, you should most certainly consider adopting a cat.