So much stress fills the world these days. Even children are now becoming overstressed from day-to-day life and that is just no good! In a world filled with a medication for almost anything you can think of, why not take a more natural approach to stress relief? Instead of calling your doctor and being put on some “pill” that may or may not help, look to nature for a wonderful high: CATS! Yes, cats (and especially kittens!) have the ability to release “feel good” chemicals in the brain which can not only cut down on stress levels but even ward off depression and anxiety!
How Do Cats Relieve Stress?
Biologically speaking, all humans are wired to be drawn to babies in a nurturing and caring way. This is why some things appear very cute to us, often giving us “fuzzy feelings” be it a person, a baby, an animal, or even a small object. There are certain characteristics we can see that draw us in and make us feel these things. When we think of how a baby looks we notice 5 key features that stand out giving them this “Aww” factor:
When you look at a baby in comparison to a house cat, most share the same shape, ratio, and size to that of a human baby on a very basic scale. Because cats tend to stay small in size, they keep this “baby-like” appearance to them. This, in turn, makes us have a constant reminder of our inner nurturer. Even when a cat is doing basic things, it appears cuter than it would if we had seen something much larger doing it. For example, picture a very large breed dog. They don’t tend to be “cute” or release these feelings inside us but when you think of them as puppies, they do!
Men vs Women
Most people will have a release of chemicals in the brain when interacting with or simply watching a cat do things. The same chemicals that are being released here match the ones that are released when being around or caring for a baby. Women and girls tend to get a bigger release due to their biological ability to birth and bond with a baby. This is why there are so many jokes in circulation having to do with women and cat pictures. This is also why it is assumed that men who like cats or favor cats over dogs are more gentle and nurturing.
Oxytocin and Cute Things
The key chemical in this equation is oxytocin, which is also known as “The Love Hormone”. Humans release this hormone within their brain during key moments in their life. For women, the big release is when they are giving birth to a baby. For both men and women, it is released through human touch, orgasms, and visual stimulation. While the touch is not human to human contact, it has been scientifically proven that simply touching or being touched by a cat will release oxytocin in the brain. Even more interestingly, cats also release oxytocin in their own brains when interacting with a human they love. The visual aspect also comes in to play with what was mentioned above being that the baby-like appearance of a cat stimulates the brain.
What Does Oxytocin Do?
Wards off anxiety
Boosts the immune system
Allows for better absorption of vitamins and minerals
Aids in weight loss
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces the likelihood of addictions
Now that we got that out the way, it is time for some medicine! Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out about whatever is going on in your life, look at some cat pictures, memes, or GIFs. If this isn’t doing anything for you, try some videos. The best and biggest release always comes from interacting directly in person with a cat. They not only make amazing companions but they are literally good for your health!