Cats as companions for the elderly

As a cat owner, I can personally tell you there are many benefits to owning a cat. I have four boys, and five cats. Each of the boys likes to grab a cat and sit with them while relaxing. That leaves on left over for me. ☺My mom, who lives alone, also enjoys the benefit of having a cat as a companion. That said, there are many reasons that cats are beneficial as well as fun to have around.

eldely woman petting cat


Research has shown that cats can assist in:

Improving your Mood

“Studies show that pets help seniors overcome loneliness and depression by providing

  • Affection

  • Company

  • Entertainment and

  • A sense of responsibility and purpose

Seniors with pets tend to get up, talk and smile much more than when there are no pets around.”

Improving your Health

It has been said that bonding with a pet can lower your blood pressure

“Petting your cat or dog feels good. It can lower your blood pressure, helps your body release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. It also soothes your pet,” says Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University.

A study by Prof. Adnan Qureshi, from the Minnesota University, showed that owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third.

Scientists said that having a cat helped to relieve stress and anxiety, which is known to help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate. Prof. Qureshi “believes one reason could be that stroking the pet could cut the level of stress-related hormones in the blood. Reducing stress is known to help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate.


The care a cat requires is minimal. The amount of time and energy it takes to care for a cat is exercise a senior should get anyway. Unlike dogs, cats are happy staying indoors all the time. Cats need about 30 minutes per day of interactive time. Even if you are immobile, you can still have interactive time with a cat by using laser beam toys or fishing pole toys. Cats are content to spend most of their time on their owner’s lap or bed.

Cats require that we:

  • scoop their box

  • feed them

  • give them fresh water

And trust me, your cat will get you up and moving whether you want to or not.

So if you’re in the market for a cat, remember that it may be better for a senior to get an older cat rather than a kitten. Kittens are a “horse of a different color” when it comes to maintenance. I know they are cute, but I’m betting your senior would want the responsibility of taking on a young spry kitty. There a many older cats in rescue facilities that would be grateful to have a home and companion their own selves. Regardless, I am of the mind that the cat picks you and not vice versa.

For a FREE consultation, contact Missy Donaghy at 321-279-3301


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