6 ways cuddling with your cat can make her healthier

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Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Nov 18 2015
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With all the hustle and bustle in your day, you might feel guilty taking the time to just sit down and relax with a kitty on your lap. But, thanks to a newly published study, you can now snuggle up with your cat guilt-free, because cuddling with your cat actually makes her healthier!

The study, published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine, showed that human interaction, such as petting, playing and grooming, improved the welfare of shelter cats. They were more content and less anxious, and as a bonus, they had increased levels of antibodies, indicating that their immune systems got a boost from human interaction, too. These cats were less likely than cats who weren’t cuddled to develop the upper respiratory infections that are so common in shelter situations.

In case that’s not enough reason to take a cuddle break with your four-legged friend, here are six more ways that cuddling with your cat makes her healthier!

  • Your cat’s fur and skin health improve – petting and brushing your cat distributes natural oils that contribute to overall skin health. This special time also allows you to discover any matted fur that might be lurking.
  • You discover lumps and bumps while they are still small, making them easier to remove. Catching potentially malignant lumps while they are small may make them easier to treat, too.
  • You notice weight gain or weight loss. There is no better way to assess your cat’s growing or shrinking weight than to lay hands on her.
  • You get up close and personal with potential parasites. It’s hard not to notice fleas, flea dirt and ticks when your cat is on your lap.
  • Your nose knows during cuddle time – is there an unpleasant odor coming from your cat’s mouth or ears? Dental disease is accompanied by bad breath, and odor from the ears is a tell-tale sign of infection.
  • Cuddling strengthens the bond you share with your cat. When your cat feels safe and gets positive attention, she is less likely to behave in negative ways.

Though our feline companions are known for their aloofness, most of them really do appreciate a good cuddle – on their time. We all know that cuddling a cat who doesn’t want to be cuddled is a bad idea for everyone involved, but if your kitty is ready, it’s good to know that you can feel purr-fectly fine about putting your work down, plopping on the couch and doing nothing but having a cuddlefest with your cat. It’s good for you both!