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It’s International Cat Day – and here are 7 scientific reasons why life is better as a cat person

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Can’t get enough of cats? Spend the better part of your day fussing over your furry little feline?

It’s International Cat Day so here are a few science-backed reasons why it’s great to be a cat person…

1. Cats are good for your heart

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Sure having any pet is good for you, but the thing about cats is they don’t require as much effort – at least not as much as dogs.

And a study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that people who owned cats were nearly 40% less likely to die of a heart attack than those who had never owned a feline pet.

Over the years, there have been numerous studies that have suggested pets are good at reducing stress in their human companions and can lower blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension.

In fact, pet therapy has become a popular treatment for those who are lonely, ill or grieving the death of a loved one.

2. They help with allergies

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It may be a little late for you, but if you have a child at home, then maybe having a pet cat may be a good idea.

A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study in 2002 found children under a year old were less likely to develop allergies when exposed to a cat.

According to Marshall Plaut, of the NIH: “High pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and grass.”

3. You are likely to be smart if you own a cat

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The dog may be man’s best friend but according to science, owning a cat makes you more likely to be more intelligent than a dog owner (sorry dog people!).

A study by conducted by the Carroll University in Wisconsin on the personality differences between test subjects who identified as “cat people” versus “dog people” found that cat lovers scored higher on intelligence.

And a 2010 survey of British pet owners by the University of Bristol found that people who owned cats were more likely to have college degrees than their dog-loving counterparts.

However, don’t rush to the cat shelter just yet – the researchers say their work simply suggests that cats appeal to smart people as a better choice simply because they require less attention.

4. They apparently have a smaller carbon footprint than dogs

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In 2009, authors Robert and Brenda Vale estimated the carbon footprints of many popular household pets in their book Time to Eat The Dog: The Real Guide To Sustainable Living.

Calculating the amount of meat a pet would eat each year, the argued that a medium-sized dog has a carbon footprint twice that of your standard SUV, while cats, being smaller and therefore eating less, have a carbon footprint equal to a small Volkswagen.

5. They are good for your mental health

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A small study carried out in 2011 by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation found that 87% of cat owners felt that their pets have a positive impact on their wellbeing.

They also found that 76% of those surveyed said cats helped them cope with everyday life better and a third of the participants said stroking a feline proved a calming influence.

“Sitting with a relaxed purring cat at the end of a hectic day is a soothing massage for the soul,” Cat Jarvis from Cats Protection explained.

“Perhaps this is because the reassuring hum is generally associated with calmness and gentle communication, or perhaps it is because the frequency of the vibration is in the range that can stimulate healing.”

6. Cats can help improve our bone health

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It might sound too good to be true but cats’ purrs have particular sound frequencies (between 25 and 150 Hertz) that are known to improve bone density in not just cats but in humans, too.

Dr Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina, who studied how purring helped in the bone healing process of cats, said: “Old wives’ tales usually have a grain of truth behind them and cats do heal very quickly.

“The healing power of purring seems to explain their ‘nine lives’.”

The scientists also said that exposure to similar frequencies strengthens human bones and helps them to grow as well.

7. And if you don’t own one, watching cat videos can be just as good

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The internet has been obsessed with cats and for good reason – they are cute and they make great video subjects. But there’s a scientific reason why you are so drawn to their videos.

A study by Indiana University found that watching four-legged furballs can actually boost energy levels and increase feelings of happiness.

Looks like all that time you spent on Instagram and YouTube looking at cats may not have gone to waste after all.

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