40 Greatest Reasons to Turn Your Home Into a Cat’s Refuge

In 2018, roughly 95.6 million cats already have a home among people living in the United States. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 31% of domestic cats are acquired from animal shelters while roughly 27% were directly saved from the streets. 

Each time people close their doors to a homeless cat, the little one is 98 times more likely to die. Even with their mythical nine lives, a great deal of their survival lies in your hands.

Fortunately, cats are not predisposed to pity like dogs usually are. Apart from plain sympathy, you can have up to 40 better reasons to welcome cats in your home. Check out these interesting advantages for you and your home:

Reasons to own a cat

HOME/ECONOMY

Exterminates house pets

Whether domestic or feral, we all know cats as efficient killing machines. Rodents, insects and even birds do not stand a chance when these cute predators are on the prowl. For almost 10,000 years, cats have been building a symbiotic relationship with civilized humans by using their natural talent as pest exterminators.

In exchange for the wholesale casualty of mice and insects that destroy people’s farms and libraries, cats get to enjoy surplus food, human pampering, and warmer shelters. Around 1/3 of all contemporary American homes are still plagued by rats. Curiously, cats often proudly present the gruesomely killed prey on the bedside of their endeared owners.

Yields lower carbon footprint

Like all commercial products, manufactured pet food requires industrial facilities dependent on fuel – which in turn generates COemissions. In terms of pet food industries, environmental impact is directly relative to rural land area (vegetable farm or livestock ranch). Due to their diminutive size and sedentary behavior, cats require a smaller calorie intake than dogs. In terms of the agricultural area needed to feed a pet, a cat only requires 0.15 to 0.19 hectares while a medium-sized dog requires around 0.84 hectares.      

Yields less annual cost

An even more personally relevant issue than environmental impact is the amount of money it costs to raise pets. By comparison, it is more expensive to keep a dog in one year than it does a cat. In a 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by APPA, cats are cheaper by an annual difference of approximately $561.

The annual cost of owning a cat is around $988 while dogs can cost around $1,549. This calculation includes food, treats, kennel training, grooming aids, vitamins, toys, routine vet visits and medical operations. There’s a huge difference in almost every aspect of spending. Curiously, however, the average cost to buy their food is practically the same. 

Safer for babies and toddlers

One can see from a viral Youtube video how cats display an incredible amount of patience when joyful babies and toddlers (and even puppies) ‘recklessly manhandle’ them. While there’s no distinction between cats and dogs in terms of their gentleness towards babies, the former certainly gain a relative advantage in terms of hygiene.

Cats spend around 10% to 15% of their day licking themselves clean. Unless they managed to sneak out of the house and get into a dumpster-diving or pest-killing spree, you’d feel at ease with an indoor cat snuggling with your baby. Warning: within 6 to 9 months of age, you must keep your cats off the sleeping baby’s crib. Any huge object could risk asphyxiation since babies are incapable of moving their head away from things that cover their breath.   

Requires less interior space

Dogs can greatly benefit from being free-range and they prefer to play around a spacious front yard. Unfortunately, young adults and other low-income grown-ups could not afford a suburban property. For those who can only pay monthly rent for apartments, cats prove to be a more preferable pet.

Apart from their diminutive size, cats are also very agile and flexible. If you think your 750-sq. feet one-bed apartment unit is too cramped, you’d find your quirky feline companion forcing itself inside a spare box or cupboard for fun. Even if the apartment space is wide, some homeowners are terrified of residing with their jumpy dogs above three floors. Cats, however, are known to survive a fall from 32 stories high!

Brings out creative interior design

Speaking of limited interior space, it is also possible to turn your living quarters into a cat-friendly zone. A cat-friendly interior adapts a modern minimalist concept. In addition to removing or securing damageable items (e.g. vase and picture frames), you could affix adornments that enthuse the acrobatic instincts of your feline companion. These decorative items include an alcove cat tree stacked up to the ceiling, empty shelves bolted firmly along the walls, and miniature bridges/walkways that connect poled platforms on either corner of the room.

They are lower maintenance

Cats spend up to 20 hours sleeping and around 4 to 8 hours doing anything else otherwise. But in all that time, a cat has rarely any need for human interaction to keep itself occupied. The fact that cats can be an embodiment of pure apathy means they won’t even slightly miss you even if you’re gone for an entire day.

They have a full schedule of independent activities (and for your sake, let’s hope it doesn’t involve unapologetically shredding toilet paper). Your busy 12-hour weekday career remains uninterrupted, granted that you won’t forget filling their food and water bowls or neglect cleaning their litter box. 

Offers huge business potential

Grumpy Cat (Tardar Sauce) and Lil Bub (Lilian Bubbles) were among the two most enduring feline celebrities in the online and mass media – rubbing shoulders with actual movie and television personalities. Their dwarfism brought a novelty appeal that made them viral superstars in both video (Youtube) and social media (Facebook) platforms. Their endorsement of the global pet product brands made their owners prosperous.

Other than a promising but highly competitive stardom status, your cats can also perform jobs and bring extra stable income. They can either become cat café/bistro co-hosts, assistant exterminators in a pest control company, or emotional support (therapy) pets in a special needs institution – as long as these establishments observe laws concerning the humane treatment of animals. 

Keeps other animals content (rural)

Country citizens who raise livestock can also reap the same advantages of urban homeowners. Farmers and ranchers uniquely enjoy the benefit of having ‘happier’ barn animals. Cats are also very drawn to large docile creatures like cows, sheep, and horses. Aside from the cats’ innate tendency to eradicate stable/barn pests, their playful demeanor helps relax these ‘meek giants.’ 

Fertilizes lawns/shrubbery

Other than rural residents, suburban homeowners benefit from having plants outside their houses. If you plan to have potted ferns or thorny shrubs to repel home invaders, you can use the carbon-rich cat feces for fertilizer. Successful hot composting (73 Celsius or higher) of cat manure could be used for propagating flowers and other outdoor vegetation.

Warning: Do not use cat manure for fertilizing the soil of garden edibles like veggies and herbs (at least not until undergoing a minimum of 2 years of composting)! The cat’s excrement contains toxoplasmosis – a parasite that causes recurring flu symptoms, migraines, and muscle aches. Pregnant cat owners must avoid gardening altogether to prevent the risk of parasite contamination.

They are economically strategic

Several hundred bucks a year is a good tradeoff when you think of the amount of money you’re spending in the same period for medical expenses (with or without insurance). The correlation between pet ownership and the superior physical condition is a fact mentioned by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Basically, cats and dogs are similar concerning the quality of wellness potential they give to their owners. The one comparative advantage that cats have is that they are economical not only in terms of the total amount of monetary expenses but also the overall time, attention, energy, and lifestyle adjustment necessary to raise them.

CHILDREN

Stimulates mental focus

The most prevalent factor for kids to perform poorly in school is their attention span. Hence, maintaining their interest is crucial to developing well-rounded students. In an effort to foster enthusiasm, one of the ingenious methods teachers use is featuring classroom animals in various lessons. Cats are an excellent subject matter for art and science (biology). Their flexibility can even be a focal issue for discussing elementary principles of middle school physics.

Cats can have as much (or even more) positive effect in maintaining focus at home as it is at school. Considering that they spend a huge deal of their time lounging, cats emit a relaxing vibe conducive to mental composure. In effect, children tend to be more successful concentrating in their homework with a sleeping cat in their midst. 

Promotes responsibility

Like all chores, the duties of cat ownership often end up being divided among members of the house. Luckily for adult custodians that have kids, it is the young ones that are genuinely enthusiastic about it. At an early age, a child can comprehend the bad consequences of neglecting their pet care tasks (and they are more sensitive about it too).

When children understand the importance of refilling food and water bowls and cleaning the litter box regularly, they tend to be more compliant with other errands like washing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry. Young pet owners do not always fit the stereotype of spoiled lazy kids. 

Promotes empathy

Sensitivity comes naturally to children, but empathy has to be learned. When kids learn to value the welfare and feelings of others around them (person or animal alike), they tend to be better at being emphatic than the ‘desensitized’ adults because of their delicate emotions.

Caring for animal companions can be a perfect training module for kids to acquire superior emotional quotient (EQ). After all, compassion is the primary (if not universal) ingredient in successfully keeping pets alive and well. Unlike dogs, cats offer a relative edge in honing their EQ considering that they tend to be ‘emotionally challenging’ creatures – being aloof and impassive.

Enhances self-esteem

To most children, self-esteem could simply be defined by how others approve of them – and a great deal of it matters when it comes from their parents. Considering that most kids receive this validation through excellence (good grades and gold medals), it would seem that the price of their self-esteem is relatively steep. In a 2001 national survey of 6,600 children conducted by the UCLA, it was discovered that the parental expectation has a huge effect on a child’s attainment. 

Nurturing pets have proven to boost self-esteem for children regardless of their academic performance. If a child was able to nurse a kitten to full growth, every task accomplished to achieve that end means something. It is always good for young ones to feel that the things they do matter, regardless of the genuine opinion of other people.

Helps channel frustrations

Children are prone to frustrations – especially if these ill feelings are too difficult to confide with another person. It truly benefits a child to have animal companions because they are non-responsive to verbal conversations. It leaves the impression that they are very good non-judgmental listeners. Kids not only develop their speaking skills, they will also appreciate the value of ‘dealing with their hurts honestly.’

Speaking of confidence and judgment, there is a relative advantage for a child to just be in his/her worst self around cats. Unlike dogs that tend to get anxious (whinny) over ‘the young master’s explosive tantrums,’ a cat will just deftly leap away from danger and stare at ‘the strange little human’ with cold apathy from a safe distance.

Assures longer bonding

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average lifespan of an indoor cat is roughly 16 years. However, it is not unusual for them to live past 20 years granted that they do not have congenital defects. Having a beloved pet they can grow up together is one of the greatest reasons for kids to prefer a cat. Other short-lived domestic animal companions (dog, rabbit, and hamster) could not generate what most people would literally call ‘a lifetime of loving memories.’

Enhances zoological knowledge

Like every child who owns a pet, young cat owners are naturally knowledgeable animal keepers. They not only get to enhance their EQ; they’re bound to store, organize and utilize a greater amount of information concerning mammalian physiology than their non-pet owning peers. That’s a probable A+ grade in every biology quiz.

Cat ownership is especially beneficial for kids who are groomed to be veterinarians. As mentioned earlier, cats have a long lifespan and that can translate to longer series of observation and inference. Unlike dogs, cats are very resilient and they tend to mask their own symptoms well enough veer less perceptive vets towards an inaccurate diagnosis.

Increases allergy protection

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat, although the latest zoological references have identified up to 10 short-haired breeds that leave behind significantly minimal allergenic dander. The one reason why bald cat breeds like the Sphinx and the Elf still cause allergic reactions to some people has something to do with the distinct protein in their saliva called “Fel d 1.”

According to many health experts, earlier close contact and long-term exposure to cats can help build up a better immune system for the child. The younger the child, the more invulnerable he/she is to the side-effects of receiving face-rubs and licks from affectionate cats. 

Widens the circle of friends

Struggling with making friends is known to be a common problem among kids – especially the timid types. While behavior can play a very huge role in affecting how children connect with their peers, it is also generally accepted that social circles are often built by a shared personal interest.

In middle school, distinct factions define the social norm. For instance: sporty energetic kids wind up with fellow ‘jocks’ while studious bookworms join a ‘nerd’ coalition. Having a pet cat gets kids connected with like-minded feline lovers, especially in this age of online social media.

Therapy for autism

If ordinary healthy children experience difficulties connecting with everyone around them, it is twice (if not exponentially) harder for kids with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Autistic children lack the basic social skills comparable to the capacity of their regular peers. Such obstacles are often characterized by a host of obvious peculiarities like involuntary movements, sensory problems, and the inability to comprehend social cues (e.g. humor and sarcasm).

Emotional support animals like therapy cats can work wonders for autistic children. A 2018 research article published by the UC Davis in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science reveals that cats are very warm and friendly with autistic kids. Cats offer a very unique friendship that children with ASD struggle to build with people (even their own parents).

SPIRITUAL/METAPHYSICAL

Repels negative energy

Aside from the observable advantages that cat owners reap, the feline animal companion also creates positive otherworldly benefits in your home. Many paranormal enthusiasts believe the historical stardom of cats as the subject of myth and folklore was no accident. It is widely known among these particular academic circles that cats have tremendous astral energy.

The ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bastet was known as the protector of homes. Naturally, her mortal embodiment tends to motionlessly stare at a particular area in your house after its aimless but cautious indoor wandering. According to modern psychics, your cat was busily driving away the hostile atmosphere/entity invading your home (especially if they are hissing at nothing).

Comforts you during nightmares

Cats would also wake you up in a frightening dream. Some would rub their faces while others would tap their paws. Psychics believe that the potency of feline astral energy extends to expelling the otherworldly trespassers of your unconsciousness.

In a 2011 PTSD forum, cat owners testify how their fur babies offer instant (albeit temporary) relief to their woeful intermittent slumber. The relaxing feeling of pet the bedside cat often serves as a metaphysical security blanket.   

Dispels curses/evil eyes

During the early medieval age in Europe, there was a particular page in that historical chapter where both cats and owners share a terrible fate. The violent and hyper-vigilant crusades against evil witchcraft have led to the unjust murders of unmarried women and their pet cats.

While pragmatic people would easily condemn whatever motivated such genocide, psychics believe that witches own cats (especially black ones) for their own protection. People who dabble with otherworldly forces are definitely vulnerable to its ill-effects – just as healthcare workers are prone to diseases. Following this logic, cats safeguard witches from their own ‘work hazards.’

Buffers geo-pathogenic zones

Geomancy may not have enough academic credence, but it was once popular enough to gain scientific attention. In 2008, researchers from the Gratz University of Technology (Austria) investigate whether or not territories known to emit malignant radiation could directly affect the morbidity of hospital patients – even though the results remain inconclusive.

In psychic theory, all cats have enough astral energy to serve as a sealant for geo-pathogenic zones. However, the cat’s specific fur color has a distinct otherworldly specialization. The type of cat that is supposedly most potent against geographical or structural abomination is a tabby or any mixed breed with born in shades of orange and yellow. Gold-pelted cats are believed to spiritually radiant.

EMOTIONAL/SOCIAL

Enhances sleep quality

Once upon a time, single homeowners might not have had a regularly ‘satisfying romantic sleepover’ with someone who keeps them warm at night. However, single cat owners fare better in terms of experiencing quality rest than their completely solitary peers.

According to a 2015 research by Mayo Clinic, more than half the surveyed pet owners who sleep with their pets did not report any complaints. In fact, they even find their bedside animal companions comforting. Their purring could even be a potent sleep-inducing factor.

Teaches patience

Disturbed slumber is (arguably) child’s play compared to other disadvantages of having a cat as a household member. Apart from putting up with their non-compliant nature, cat ownership also entails responsibilities that are ‘fundamentally unfeasible’ for germaphobes.

Such unsavory tasks include cleaning the litter box, picking puked hairballs, and combing off ticks. In terms of accomplishing these chores: patience = time + familiarity. No one understands this better than parents who change baby diapers on a daily basis.

Provides companionship

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of a continent, a part of the main.” These words were immortalized by a 16th Century English cleric named John Donne. Even to aloof individuals, such quote can still make a lot of sense. After all, by virtue of analogy, our planet has more than one continent. The figurative “Cat Continent” is where solitary people likely belong.

Residents of senior homes embody one of the most apparent (if not the most obvious) definition of loneliness – enough to be a subject of a well-known 2002 study by the UCLA that elevated the noble profession of all emotional-support pets. The results of this research have confirmed that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) greatly reduces loneliness in residents of long-term care facilities.

Reduces stress and anxiety

In case you’re skeptical of all the four spiritual/psychic benefits of owning a cat, you can at least validate these experiences strictly within the realm of human emotions. Most pragmatists simply accept that having an indoor cat just makes us feel good, especially without metaphysical justifications. When it comes to every positive emotion enjoyed by cat owners, a set of simple scientific principles has a lot to say about this fact.

An article published by the UK-based Pet Health Council features a study conducted by Cats Protection – the country’s largest feline welfare charity. Among 500 cat owners aged 55 and above, 82% of the respondents reported that their pets help them overcome stress and anxiety. A relatively extensive petting session can elevate serotonin (also known as feel-good hormones).

Promotes positive mood

Speaking of feel-good hormones, one of the craziest ways of attaining this chemical reaction in our brain is through our sense of sight. Images and videos of cats are among the most widely viewed online content since the dawn of video streaming.

Within nearly a decade (9 years) since Youtube was launched in 2005, there were over 2 million cat videos featured in the cyberspace. There is little doubt that people find cats very entertaining. Having a cat in your home is like getting your own free access to entertainment 24/7 in the absence of internet and/or electricity. 

Helps cope with sorrow

It is common knowledge that bringing a cat into your home can help you cope with multiple stages of sorrow. Apart from keeping you company and occasionally giving you small doses of laughter, having a pet cat gives you things to do. Your regular chores of feeding, grooming, and cleaning after them not only keep you distracted – it also gives you a purpose.

By the time you become quite better at looking after your fur baby’s welfare, you’d be thinking of ways to upgrade its needs like doing more homework (e.g. researching feline-safe cleaning products) or projects (e.g. building play tunnels, cat trees, etc). With cats keeping you productive, you will have little time and/or reason for self-pity.

Help raise social awareness

Having pets can make a person more sympathetic to all creatures in general. In fact, pet owners in North America have been championing the safety and welfare of all domestic animal companions since before there was a United States – specifically embodied in the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties. Despite how far Americans have come, a 2016 study published in the Scientific World Journal revealed that conventional household setups are often ill-equipped to handle the proper confinement of cats.

A great deal of improvement, especially in the mindset of potential cat owners, is still needed in order to address this ongoing inadequacy. Affecting social changes for the benefit of our animal companions is a continuously bourgeoning movement. In New York alone, there are over 130 organizations that champion all aspects of the domestic cat’s welfare.

Widens community/social network

Apart from knowing the different federal associations behind pet welfare (e.g. ASPCA and APPA), being a passionate cat owner gets you connected with the people behind these groups. Just like children that find kinship with fellow likeminded peers, adults can find productive circles that are run by remarkable individuals. These social awareness lobbyists may include veterinarians, social workers, rescuers, business owners, philanthropists and even internet celebrities. 

Enhances sexual/romantic appeal (males)

If you’re a single guy and you’re still hung-up about the earlier mentioned ‘satisfying romantic sleepover,’ you may thank your cat for possibly increasing your chances of becoming more sexually attractive. A survey conducted by UK-based charity Cats Protection revealed that up to 90% of all single female respondents consider male cat owners to be more attractive.

The research did not reveal any prevalent reason behind it. However, a curious online article somehow provided an interesting insight into the feminine eye for ‘the male keeper.’ Women can’t help but swoon over ‘a gentle giant that loves small delicate creatures.’ In the dating world, having a cat as a wingman is as good as cheating!   

PHYSICAL

Enhances bone growth

Aside from being cute, sociable (in their unique ways), and superb spiritual combatants; cats are also somewhat natural healers. One of their impressive observable skills is purring – a semi-noiseless guttural vibration that is scientifically confirmed to be a self-healing mechanism.

When cats purr, they produce a frequency range that almost every physician would consider therapeutic. From 2004 to 2014, there were up to 14 medical studies confirming the favorable effects of 25 to 150 Hertz for vibration therapy. It’s no accident that fractured or osteoporotic pet owners are able ‘stand better’ considering the fact that cat purrs can produce a vibration capable of increasing bone mineral density.

Reduces breathing difficulty

As mentioned earlier, kids who were exposed to cats are able to develop stronger immunity against allergies – especially one that affects the upper respiratory system. It is interesting to take note that the same can be said about adults and the elderly. It would seem that the power of cat purrs also extends to easing the slightly difficult passage of air into our lungs.

Curiously, a 2015 research features the positive effects of whole-body vibration on patients with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. It’s not surprising how cough-stricken cat owners could manage relatively longer breathing exercises with their fur-babies sitting on their laps.

Helps relieve pain

Cats are excellent pets to have when you are experiencing throbbing pain. Interestingly, your fur baby has two ways of doing it. On the one hand, your cat’s purr entails a remarkable array of healing powers that also includes soothing inflammation. At the same time, the playfulness or tender cuddling of your cat can also keep you distracted from ‘consciously’ feeling the soreness as your body is busily repairing damages (swells or cuts).

Faster trauma recovery

In 2017, there was a well-known story about an 82-year old cat owner who, with the assistance of her pet, was able to fully recover from a stroke. This incredible narrative is an example of how the cosmos demonstrates a tandem of earlier mentioned facts – a stronger impact of emotional-support animals in physical recovery and the symbiotic attraction between the elderly and their feline pets.

But there is another compelling factor that is worth mentioning: the cat’s natural talent for Reiki. Known among Japanese as ‘energy-healing,’ it has been a widely accepted discipline that begins to gain traction in modern medicine – especially in its use as a post-surgery therapy. Reiki might be the nearest thing to an objective reference to the cat’s famed astral energy.

Lowers the risk of heart attack

In 2009, a study was published in the official journal of Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center (University of Minnesota) that seeks to find the correlation between the risk of deadly cardiovascular disease and cat ownership. Results have proven that owning a cat can reduce the odds of having a heart attack by 40% and also cut down up to 33% risk of stroke. What is even more interesting is that this benefit is primarily attributed to a comparatively healthier lifestyle than anything else. 

Enhances reflexes

The expression ‘cat-like reflexes’ pretty much speaks for itself. Inside your furry pet’s sweet docile exterior hides a ruthless killing machine and a remorseless bag of mischief. In a mere second, your cat can hurl itself onto any target at a velocity of 30mph. While the cat’s superior agility can be worrisome, you could benefit from using this trait as a unique form of physical training (especially for self-defense practitioners).

The more you play ‘finger-wagging’ with your energetic pet, the quicker you’d be at moving your hand away from its playful counter-attack. The more you anticipate your cat’s devious plan of knocking an ornamental item off its suspended platform, the more you’d be able to develop faster reaction time. Fast hands + fast reaction time = a dangerous person to mess with.

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