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/.
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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 Scientific Results: Asking Patients About Pets Enhances Patient Communication and Care
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The University of Toronto, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan announced the publication of a study exploring whether Primary Healthcare Professionals asking their patients about the pets in the family would positively impact communication to gather clinically relevant information and improve patient care. “Results of our survey show that asking about pets in the family is an easy and effective way to build trust with a patient, strengthening the patient-provider therapeutic alliance,” said Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. “When healthcare providers learn about the pets in patients’ lives, they are also developing an understanding about specific aspects of their patients’ environment and social history that can improve the delivery of healthcare.” “Having an exam-room conversation about companion animals helps healthcare providers learn important information about patients’ lifestyle and home life which can positively influence the way they evaluate and treat their patients,” said Alan Monavvari, MD, Chief of Family Medicine, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ, at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Dr. Hodgson and Dr. Monavvari, along with co-authors Marcia Darling, BSc and Dr. Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, DipACT, analyzed results of a baseline and follow-up survey of 225 healthcare professionals asking about prevalence of patients living with pets, the health impact of pets, and influences on patient communication. Results revealed that patients are more open to talking to their healthcare providers about their pets, revealing clinically relevant information about how they live. Baseline and final surveys measured awareness of pets in patients’ families, assessment of determinants of health, impact on rapport with patients, and patient care. A sign test assessed difference in scores using repeated-measures...
New Survey Reveals 97% of Doctors Believe There Are Health Benefits to Owning a Pet
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, today released the results of a first-of-its-kind survey detailing the views of family physician on the benefits of pets to human health. “Doctors and their patients really understand the human health benefits of pets, and they are putting that understanding into practice” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative funds research on the evidence-based health benefits on humananimal interaction, and this survey demonstrates that we are on the right track.” HABRI partnered with Cohen Research Group to conduct an online panel survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners. This is the largest survey of its kind to explore doctors’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the human health benefits of pets. The 28-question survey was conducted in late August 2014 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. The physicians in the survey had a median of 18 years of practice experience. Among the survey’s key findings: Most doctors have successfully worked with animals in medicine. 69% have worked with them in a hospital, medical center, or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment. They report interactions with animals improve patients’ physical condition (88%), mental health condition (97%), mood or outlook (98%), and relationships with staff (76%). Doctors overwhelmingly believe there are health benefits to owning pets. 97% reported that they believe there were health benefits that resulted from owning a pet. The majority of doctors have recommended a pet to a patient. 60% of doctors interviewed have recommended getting a pet to a patient. 43% recommended the pet to improve overall health and 17% made the recommendation for a specific condition. Most doctors have seen their patients’ health improve as a result of pet ownership. 75% of physicians said they saw one or more of their patients overall health...