Washington, D.C. (October 29, 2020) — In celebration of National Cat Day, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has created a shareable infographic on the health benefits of cat ownership. The infographic, “Top 5 Benefits of Cat Ownership”, highlights the research supporting the health benefits of cats for people of all ages.
Approximately 43 million American households include a pet cat, with many households owning more than one[i], making them the second most popular pet by household, behind dogs.
Scientific research demonstrates that cat ownership can confer benefits to both mental and physical health in their owners. Specifically, cat ownership can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and improve heart health, alleviate social isolation and loneliness, and reduce stress. In children, living with cats can strengthen immunity in the first year of life, and a pet cat can help those with autism and their families.
HABRI hopes that in sharing this infographic far and wide, we can raise awareness of the benefits of cat ownership and to strengthen human-cat bonds everywhere. This infographic is part of an ongoing series to help share human-animal bond research and the message that pets enrich our lives, in good times and in bad. Earlier this year, HABRI released the “Can Pets Help You Live Longer?“, the “Top 5 Mental Health Benefits of Pets” and the “Top Benefits of the Human-Animal Bond” infographics.
American Pet Products Association’s 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit https://habri.org/.
More Press Releases
School of Public Health Researchers Awarded Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Grant
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) will fund a new study conducted by Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Public Health researchers Drs. Alyce Fly, Ming Li, and Katharine Watson. The researchers aim to characterize the impact of pet ownership on the adult gut microbiota, which has been shown to influence the role of cardiovascular disease (CVD) development. Fly, Li, and Watson hypothesize that differences in the gut microbiota of cat and dog owners relative to non-owners are associated with reduced CVD risk. “Studies have found that living with cats or dogs imparts health benefits associated with the gut microbiota of infants and children, such as a reduced risk of developing asthma and other immune-related diseases,” Principal Investigator Katharine Watson, MA BVMS, explains. “Studies have also shown that gut microbiota health is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. However, it is not known whether the gut microbiota of adult pet owners differs from non-owners. As pet ownership is associated with benefits to the gut microbiota of infants, it is probable that adults who live with pets may have similar benefits and that these may play a role in CVD risk reduction.” “HABRI is proud to support this novel research into the relationship between pet ownership, gut microbiota, and risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman notes. “Science tells us that pets can influence the physical and mental health of owners, and this project will explore an important aspect of the physiological underpinnings of the human-animal bond.” Drs. Alyce Fly and Ming Li will serve as co-investigators on the study which may help to determine whether living with a cat or dog is associated with a richer and more diverse adult gut microbiome and whether this, in turn, may mediate reduced prevalence of CVD. CVD is the leading cause of death and disability and the most common non-communicable disease...
New Research to Help Shelters Better Place Cats in Loving Homes
Results of a newly-published study funded by HABRI and the Winn Feline Foundation in the Animal Studies Journal, led by researchers at the University of Missouri, demonstrate the effectiveness of the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP) in assessing the behavioral responses of cats in different situations. Results also indicate that the FTP may be shortened with no loss of reliability to serve as a quick and practical tool for animal shelters and rescue organizations to assess a cat’s temperament to find compatible homes and reduce the likelihood of cat relinquishment. “Cat temperament assessments can help shelters and rescue organizations better place cats into the right homes, and are especially important for families with special needs who may fare better with a more social and calm cat,” said Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist at the University of Missouri and Principal Investigator of the Feline Friends study. “With this study, we conclude that the shorter FTP can be deployed to increase the possibility of successful adoptions by matching cats with adopting families’ expectations and improving shelter staff’s accuracy to easily and objectively assess behavior.” “We know from scientific research that pets, especially dogs, can be beneficial to families of children with autism in improving family functioning and decreasing stress,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Research also shows that quiet and non-verbal interactions with cats may be beneficial for children with autism by promoting social contact. Having a reliable way to assess feline temperament is important to this equation.” “Up until now there has been a critical lack of evidence-based studies regarding the temperament of cats and the effect on different aspects of the human-cat bond. The results of this study provides important information assisting shelters with finding compatible homes for successful adoption of cats’, added Dr. Vicki Thayer, interim executive director...
Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Grants to Address Important Areas of Scientific Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced the initiation of five new research projects focused on the positive effects of human-animal interaction on human health. These new scientific studies will focus on important areas of human-animal interaction research, including child health, healthy aging, cardiovascular health, and chronic disease management. “This new group of projects will provide further evidence for the health benefits of the human-animal bond,” said Steven Feldman, president of HABRI. “For example, HABRI is funding the first study to examine the role of pet ownership on gut microbiota and risk of cardiovascular disease.” The following five research projects were awarded HABRI funding: Jeffrey Kline, MD (Indiana University): Canine-assisted anxiety reduction in pediatric emergency care (CANINE III) Katharine M Watson, BVMS (Indiana University): The influence of pet ownership on gut microbiota composition and cardiovascular disease risk among 50 to 85-year old United States adults Kevin Morris, PhD (University of Denver): Exploring the impacts of animal-assisted interventions on positive youth development for adolescents in residential treatment Jessica Bibbo, PhD (Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging): Uncovering Pet Ownership Benefits, Challenges, and Resources in an Aging Society: Promoting Healthy Aging in Healthcare and Community Environments B. Rhett Rigby, PhD (Texas Woman’s University): How does 8 weeks of equine-assisted therapy affect older adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease? The CANINE III study will focus on the efficacy and impact of therapy animal interaction, and was made possible through Pet Partners, which continues to commit special funding for research into the health benefits of animal-assisted therapy. “This robust pipeline of innovative research is made possible through the support leading pet care companies and organizations who...