We cats have always recognized our power over humans, but a new study makes it official: If you’ve never owned a cat, you could face a 30% greater risk of dying from a heart attack than a cat lover.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota stopped playing with fetal rat hearts long enough to share this good news at the American Stroke Association’s international conference in New Orleans last week.
A study was conducted from 1976-80 on 4,435 Americans ages 30-75, of which 2,435 were current or former cat owners. The rest were not.
In 10 years of follow-up, the cat owners showed a 30% lower risk of death from heart attack.
They think cats either reduce people’s stress by being so soft, cuddly, and nice to pet, or that people who like cats are simply more laid back and are less likely to develop early heart disease.
The study also revealed that dog owners don’t get the same benefit, which refutes a 1995 study that concluded dog owners had the edge in surviving heart attacks.
This time, researchers thought constant dog-walking would provide aerobic benefits, but actually, dogs may just create more stress with their everlasting need to be fussed over.
Naturally, the dog lobby pooh-poohs this conclusion, saying there weren’t enough dogs in the study.
Another reason cats may get better results is that we often live twice as long as dogs, giving our owners double the time to enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of our company.
It’s no wonder cats now outnumber dogs as pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, we’re 82 million strong, compared to only 72 million pet dogs.