Treat Yo Self: Feline stressed?

Katie Dysert

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My mom has always told me that she thinks petting a cat is therapeutic, and I’ve been a cat person for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my mom and I lived with my grandpa who, unfortunately, is allergic to cats. It wasn’t until we moved into our own house that my wish lifelong wish was fulfilled. The second the moving trucks left, I started begging to go to Angels for Animals.

In the spring of 2009, my mom and I went to PetSmart to gather the necessary supplies before we could actually adopt. While I was visiting the cat room in the store, I fell in love with a petite tabby cat. She was sweet, quiet, and didn’t squirm when I held her in my excited, seven year old arms. Although we weren’t planning on adopting just yet, my mom couldn’t say no when she saw the look on my face. We took Abby home with us that day.

We rescued another tabby, Kitten, years later. Abby has always been affectionate ー the second I get home from school she follows me around, waiting for me to sit down. Kitten hides whenever someone new comes over. We consider it an honor when she naps within five feet of us.

Somehow both of my girls can sense when I’ve had a bad day. Even Kitten has been known to cuddle up on my chest when I’m upset. Petting my cats after a long day has always had an immense calming effect; it’s impossible to feel anxious when there’s a cat purring in your ear. Some studies suggest that pets have a notable effect on physical health, specifically cardiovascular health, as well as mental health.

In a study conducted in 2002, researchers found that participants with a pet present while doing mental arithmetic exhibited lower heart rate, SBP, and DBP.

Wellness is defined as “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” I believe that the journey toward personal wellness is just as important as the end goal. People deal with stress in many different ways. I’ve found that the best way to calm down after a stressful day is to sit with my cats as they contently purr beside me.

If you don’t have pets of your own but need a furry friend to help you de-stress, visiting the cat rooms at Angels for Animals is always an option. There are so many cats in shelters that deserve just as much love and affection as cats that already have forever homes.

If cats aren’t your thing, check out these other self care articles:

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