Interacting With Pets Lowers Our Stress Hormones
Studies around pets and mental health show that petting and playing with animals reduces stress-related hormones. And these benefits can occur after just five minutes of interacting with a pet. Therefore, pets are very helpful for anxiety sufferers.
Playing with a dog or cat raises our levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are hormones that calm and relax the nervous system. When we smile and laugh at our pets cute behavior, that helps stimulate the release of these happiness hormones.
Do Indoor Cats Get Depressed
It is easier to determine if an indoor cat is depressed because you see them more often. But outdoor cats can also experience depression.
Remember that depression in cats is a state of mind that is reflected by an overall decrease in activity. Your cat is no longer engaging in activities they once enjoyed, and they are sleeping more and more. So instead of exploring the yard or neighborhood, your cat may stay in one area of the yard or may not even go out at all.
Is Your Cat Ready
If you’re interested in pursuing therapy certification for your cat, contact a reputable organization, such as Pet Partners, for specific details. No one breed makes a better therapy cat than another what matters most is the specific cat’s temperament and socialization. Garza adds that a therapy cat should be comfortable wearing a leash and/or harness and should be friendly to strangers, even in unfamiliar and noisy settings.
Garza documents Summer’s adventures from a cat’s eye perspective on her website, Sparkle Cat, written from the cat’s eye point of view. “I’ve also used the blog to show that cats are capable of much more than people assume.”
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How Pets Help Manage Depression
Avigayil Brown has been an animal lover her whole life. “I grew up having a lot of pets: dogs, cats, bunnies, fish, birds, and a horse,” says Brown, who’s 24 and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
She has dealt with depression since she was 12, but it wasn’t until she faced a very tough round of symptoms that she began to understand how pets helped her feel well.
When Brown moved into her own apartment, she was depressed and had trouble sleeping. After she adopted two rescue kittens, she started sleeping better — and feeling better, too.
“When I was lying in my bed, my cats would come and snuggle with me. If I got out of bed just to go to the bathroom, my cats followed me. It was very calming,” she says.
Brown isn’t alone. In a recent survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners said having a pet improved their mental health.
Studies back this up and show that activities with animals help with symptoms of depression.
Can Having A Cat Help With Depression
From a cat spraying in the house to an upset dog your pet queries answered HE is on a mission to help our pets â¦and is here to answer YOUR questions. Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet.
The best way to raise the topic of counseling is to stress initially that the individual is fundamentally all right and that they are mosting likely to have the ability to solve their issues in the long run. The cause-and-effect nature of mental healthmedical comorbidity can go in any case.
Having a cat can assist you together with your social life. Once you have guests over, cats act as natural icebreakers I can attest that this is often I hope youâve got been able to gain some insight into why and the way cats help us, humans, with our over-stressed lives. Iâm sure I even have only.
Cat depression can be hard to identify, especially if your cat is the loner type who likes to hide. Depression in cats is often a temporary response to a change in their life. Some cats are quite sensitive, and they can experience mild depression over what seem to us like small things, such as.
How Adopting A Cat Can Help With Depression Or Anxiety. When people feel depressed or anxious, they often also feel alone. Living with a cat can offer a sense of constant Ultimately, weighing up whether to adopt a cat to help depression or anxiety will have to be considered on an individual basis.
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Support Recovery From Mental Illness
There are several pieces of evidence that show that pets are helpful to people with mental health conditions, including PTSD and depression. Pets, including cats, help their owners manage their emotions and distract them from mental illness symptoms.
In addition to this, cats make their owners feel needed. Having someone to care for gives pet owners a sense of purpose, and this can help relieve mild depression symptoms. The acts of caretaking can positively affect mental health.
Treatment Of Depression In Cats
Treating depression in cats can be a trial-and-error process. If another condition is causing your cat’s depression, your vet will prescribe treatments and medications for that condition.
If the root cause of the depression is environmental, the first step is meeting the cat’s needs. According to Merck Vet Manual, a cat’s basic behavioral needs include feeding, drinking, hunting, playing, exploring, perching, climbing, scratching, and feeling secure.
Even if those basic needs are met with a quality diet and scratching posts, there may be room for improvement. For example, if you only feed your cat once a day, your vet may recommend feeding them smaller portions at regular intervals. Other recommendations may include:
Purchasing a new scratching post or perch
Offering new areas or boxes for your cat to explore
Increasing the frequency and variety of activity and exercise
Playing with small toys your cat can chase or bite to satisfy their need to hunt
In severe cases, antidepressants or serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitors may be prescribed. These medications are used alongside behavioral modification and environmental improvements.
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Can Adopting A Pet Help With Depression
I am thinking of adopting a dog or cat from a local rescuefacility. I have heard that both dogsand cats can enhance our lives. I sufferfrom mild depression and wonder if adopting a pet will help ease my symptomsand make me happier.
Can adopting a pet help with depression?
Can adopting a pet help with depression? Yes, adopting a pet can help with symptomsof mild depression. Pets provide us withmany health benefits linked to our mental and physical well-being. Having a pet changes our lifestyle by increasingour physical activity. Pets teach us to spend more time outdoors and helpcreate natural moments to socialize with others. These lifestyle changes can help decreasesymptoms of mild depression in those who suffer. While a pet can never replace a professionalphysicians guidance, they do have the ability to make us smile more often andbring joy to our life.
Depression can be a temporary or life-long chronic medical illness thataffects every area of our life. Characterized as a mood disorder, it creates varying depths of sadnessand lack of interest in life. Symptomscan vary from one person to another and make it hard for the individual to livea healthy, happy life. Having a dog orcat to care for and love naturally fights symptoms of this condition.
Is it safe for a depressed person to adopt a pet?
Yes and no. This answer depends on the extent of depression. Those suffering from mild depression willhave no problem adopting and caring for a pet.
Cats Mirror Humans Moods And Anxiety
It has been shown that cats pay attention to human emotional gestures and facial patterns that match depression or anxiety. If their human is sad, their facial expressions will show that, and the cat picks up on that. Or if their humans are upset in some way, the cat also picks up on these emotions.
But cats will also mirror their humans moods and anxiety. A cat who lives with someone is consistently sad or anxious also becomes sad and anxious. You can tell by how their health is faring or if they are overweight due to low energy and a larger appetite if they are depressed or anxious.
Cats with anxiety will also urinate on your clothing or bedding, or other soft surfaces to tell you that they are suffering. How you can help your cat is to get some personal help, such as therapy or life coaching. When you arent depressed or anxious, your cat will relax and not be depressed or anxious.
One could say that cats are co-dependent with their human companion in that their moods depend on their humans moods.
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Spend More Time With Your Cat
Daily activity and exercise, including play sessions with you, can go a long way to staving off seasonal depression in cats.
Even though cats might seem solitary, they do need attention and company to thrive. If youre not home as often as you once were, or if your schedule has dramatically changed , you cat might be feeling lonely. Try to spend some more quality time with your cat, doing things he likes, whether its cuddling on the couch, playing with favorite toys or brushing his coat.
Some cats might like the company of a friend, although be careful with this because some cats might become even more upset by the addition of a new cat or kitten. You know your cat best. If he is social and seems open to meeting other animals, consider adopting a new feline friend for company.
They Support Our Overall Well Being
According to HABRI, 74% of pet owners say that owning a pet has improved their mental health. Studies show that human-animal interaction increases oxytocin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of calm, comfort and focus.
Not only that, but a study of over 600 cat owners by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% felt owning a cat had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could better cope with life thanks to the company of their pet.
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Many Cats Are Trained As Therapy Animals
While dogs get most of the credit as therapy animals, cats are also used in therapy to help mirror what is appropriate behavior and what isnt. Several therapists use cats when working with families because when arguments get loud or inappropriate behavior, cats will yell or meow loudly as a response to uncomfortable situations.
In contrast with therapy dogs, which allow all types of behavior, cats will not allow that behavior. They are very sensitive to the emotional changes of the patients and their families. They show clients what type of behaviors are appropriate by how they react to negative emotions.
While dogs are appropriate for the beginning stages of therapy, cats are more appropriate for the growth part of therapy due to how they encourage appropriate behavior. Cats dont put up with bad behavior. If a cat gets uncomfortable with clients behavior, they will let the clients know about it.
Cats are also trained as emotional support animals for those with mental illness, as they sense emotions and will cuddle with their person who is experiencing distress and anxiety. Cuddling with a cat releases the feel-good hormone known as oxytocin. So there is a reason that cuddling with your cat helps you feel better.
How Therapy Cats Work
Therapy cats are not typically used to help with specific tasks like service dogs or horses. Instead, therapy cats provide emotional comfort to those who need it. For example, if an elderly person in a nursing home is feeling lonely, a therapy cat can be a great companion. Alternatively, if a child has recently lost one of their parents, therapy cats can be essential for dealing with emotional trauma.
Humans develop special bonds with animals, and cats are no exception. Sessions with therapy cats use this bond to heal and alleviate pain, loneliness, or anxiety. It can be incredibly soothing to hold and pet a cat, to feel it purr and enjoy your touch. In essence, this is what therapy cats are trained to do they are trained to love and be loved in return.
Therapy cats are particularly effective with patients fighting depression and anxiety disorders. These issues are often associated with feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, social anxiety, and fear. These symptoms can make it very difficult for someone to connect with other people, or even get out of bed in the morning. A therapy cat works to alleviate these symptoms and offer a stress-free emotional connection.
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How Long Does Cat Depression Last
Luckily, depression in cats tends to be more short-lived than that seen in humans, and it often resolves with a bit of time once the root cause has been addressed. The 2016 Animals article mentioned above found that the behavioral changes observed in cats following the loss of an animal companion usually lasted for less than six months.
Can Cats Sense Depression And Anxiety
Cats can sense depression and anxiety, yes. Our feline pets have a heightened sense that helps them detect changes in the body. Thus, cats can feel health issues and even depression and anxiety levels. Of course, like any other animal, cats dont have the words to tell it. Instead, they reach out to us in depression and anxiety in a beautiful and comforting way.
I know what youre thinking. Felines are lovely pets.
Its fascinating to think that they do this excellent job of comforting us in these times.
For this reason, I did some further research to know more about how they can sense this.
Lets talk about cats sensing depression first.
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Is My Cat Depressed Signs Symptoms & How To Help
Have you ever wondered is my cat depressed? It wasnt too long ago that people thought of animals as not having many feelings at all, but we now know that cats and other animals feel a wide range of emotions. Cats can feel happiness, excitement and everything in between, including anxiety, sadness and depression.
Are There Cat Therapists
There are people who advertise themselves as cat therapists or psychologists. These folks may be well-meaning, but their titles dont indicate that they have the skills or training necessary to help your cat.
Always consult your veterinarian first who can refer you to an expert such as a veterinarian with advanced training, certified as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
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How Do You Help Your Depressed Cat To Feel Better
Katherine Houpt, VMD, PhD, DACVB is an emeritus veterinary behaviorist at Cornell University. She emphasizes that you must be patient. Enrichment and attention are key to help your cat. Consider some of these ideas to help improve your cat’s mood:
- Offer your cat special treats to entice her to eat
- Try out some new interactive toys and games to stimulate her brain
- Move a window seat to a new location so she gets a new view
- Add on a catio to your home if you can
The goal is to keep your cat active!
Should You Get A Cat To Help Your Depression Or Anxiety
Ultimately, weighing up whether to adopt a cat to help depression or anxiety will have to be considered on an individual basis. You should rely on the advice of your healthcare professional. As you probably know, there is no easy, one-stop solution when treating depression or anxiety.
As an alternative, seriously consider fostering a cat or a kitten. Theres never a shortage of cats needing temporary homes. And this way, youll find out how you like living with a cat before committing to the idea.
Hey, you might even end up being a foster fail and keep the cat after all!
Have cats ever helped your depression or anxiety? Does your cat keep you calm and grounded? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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Physical Contact And Touch
Physical touch is healing for everyone. Sometimes children with anxiety or depression require extra reassurance and hugs. As parents or caregivers, we can certainly provide this, but the touch and acceptance of a furry friend is extra-healing. This is why its important that your child interact with a cat who enjoys being held.
Do you have experience with using cats to help kids with anxiety or depression? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author: Angie Bailey is a goofy girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.
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Cats And Dogs Are Great Examples Of Being In The Moment
Pets live in the moment. In other words, they dont worry about what happened yesterday. Moreover, they arent worried about what might happen tomorrow.
As a result, pets can help people become more mindful. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing ones attention to the present moment. Therefore, pets can help teens enjoy and appreciate the present moment.
In addition, pets help distract teens from whats bothering them. And spending time with a pet helps teens remember how to be playful and carefree.
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