Pets can help reduce depression

Ever since I was little, I always wanted a pet.

And, finally, at 24 years old after moving out of my parents' house, I finally have a pet of my own - a 2-year-old Calico cat named Katniss (yes, I named her after the main character in the book series the Hunger Games).

I went into Adopt-a-Pet in Fenton and, when I sat down, Katniss immediately came over and sat in my lap. Whenever another cat would come near me, she would slap it in the face, as if to say, "No, my human." The volunteers with the center would come into the room in awe -- telling me how the cat (previously named Little Miss) never acted that way around people and would  never sit in a person's lap.

Katniss had been in the shelter longer than any of the other cats (for one year) because, the all other people, thought she was aggressive. The volunteers thought she was abused because her previous owner threw her out of the back of their car and sped away, just leaving her there. And, for one week, she ran away into the woods behind the adoption center until the volunteers finally found her.

You may be wondering  why I'm telling this story, and how it has anything to do with depression awareness. You probably think I just enjoy gushing about my cat (which is partly true).

But the real reason is because of how happy having a cat has made me. Previously, I lived alone.  Now, no matter how bad my day is or if I feel like I have no one who cares, as soon as I get home, my cat will jump up on my lap and make me feel that I am loved.

And I wondered if it is a proven fact that animals do help relieve depression.

So I did some research.

Ian Cook, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, said "Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression."

WebMD reports that studies show animals can reduce tension and improve mood. Along with treatment, pets can help some people with mild to moderate depression feel better.


Here are some reasons:
1. Have you ever had a friend, family member or stranger make you feel bad about yourself or cause drama in your life? We're humans, so chances are, the answer is yes. With a pet, you don't have to worry about it hurting your feelings…or hurting its feelings.
2. Adding a little responsibility can help. According to WebMD, it can remind you that you are capable and can do more than you think.
3. A pet's daily routine can help you stay on track.
4. Depression can cause people to isolate themselves, but, with a pet,  you're never alone.
5. Studies show that touch helps people feel better. I can attest to this because I always feel so much better when my cat snuggles up to me. There's something soothing about petting a cat on your lap.

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  1. Love this.... I, too, recently adopted my "first pet" (my parents always had pets, but this one, he's mine!) and point number 5 above has been the best thing ever. Even better is the fact that I ventured out of my comfort zone and ended up with a canine companion, further eliminating my ability to isolate.

    Thank you for this post, looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Thanks! That means a lot to me! My parents never had pets when I was growing up, so I was really excited to get my first pet after I moved out.

      Do you have a dog? I work so much I don't think I'd have time to take care of a dog. But don't animals just have this way about them to make you feel like they'll love you no matter what? If only people could be more like that haha.

  2. Yes it does, some used to decorate their pets with Cool Dog Collars to make it attractive. All this reduces depression, stress, tension.

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  4. Lots of person are facing many problems like surviving related, financial, relation and many other, if they are not getting success in any anywhere so it may be possible they will in depression, in this situation they should have a friend which can entertain them and a pet can does is very well. You have shared an interesting article here; it's really very useful for every person.

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