10 Reasons Why a Shelter Cat Is a Girl's Best Friend
Turns out, adopting the fluffy little gray-and-white ball of energy was the best thing we could have done. There are tons of reasons why shelter cats make great companions for a gal … I’m here to share my 10 faves with you.
1. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Make a Difference That You See Every Day
When Penny first arrived in our apartment, she was skittish and shy, tiny and scared. She ran behind our couch the second we released her into the apartment, and we didn’t see her again for another couple of hours. On her papers, under the section where her capturers were allowed to write in comments, they had instead written, “Too Many.” Poor Penny—she came with too many comments to even write. However, over the next few days, weeks and months, slowly but surely, Penny came out of her shell. I single-handedly watched her grow from a timid kitten to a beautiful, confident cat, and I’d like to think I had something to do with that.
2. Adopt a Shelter Cat and Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Before Penny, I can tell you that the stresses of life seemed much more all encompassing than they do these days. A 5-minute tummy rub or a scratch on the ears is sure to send my ball of fur into a purring frenzy, which melts all my cares away immediately. Turns out, there’s actually science behind my sentiments—according to research, cats are such a calming presence in our lives that they reduce the risk of heart attack by 40 percent.
3. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Never Feel More Needed
While her initial reaction to our home had me feeling doubtful as to whether or not Penny would ever take to us the way I had hoped, she quickly proved me wrong. Within a month’s time, Penny was greeting me at the door when I came home from work, purring as I pet her before I fell asleep every night and knocking her head into my hands as I typed away at my computer because she wants me to scratch her. While I had half expected to adopt an independent cat who would all but ignore me, what I got instead was a perfect combo—Penny is happy to entertain herself from time to time, but she always makes sure to let me know that I’m needed.
4. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Learn Important Lessons in Patience
I’ll be the first to admit it—I’m not the most patience person in the world. While I’m admitting things, I might as well also admit to the fact that I was a little worried when we first brought Penny home, that if she took to scratching the furniture, messing outside of her litter box or proved to not be as cuddly as I would have hoped, that I would have immediately run out of patience. What I learned instead is that when you love something as much as you inevitably will love any cat you adopt, your patience tends to magically grow. That’s not to say I don’t still get a tad frustrated when Penny paws at the new chair I brought home … but I love her all the same.
5. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You Could Actually Lower Your Family’s Incidence of Allergies and Asthma
Seems counter-intuitive, I know, but studies have actually shown that children who grow up in households with two or more pets have a lower incidence of allergies than children who were raised in homes with only one or no pets. Saving an animal’s life and potentially saving your kid from suffering from allergies in the future? That’s a double-reward we like to hear.
6. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Never See Another Bug In Your House … Again.
Okay, I know this might seem silly, or trite, but trust me—when you’re a New York City gal living in a tiny 4th-floor walk-up, the last thing you want to contend with are bugs. That’s no problem anymore. I’ve seen Penny take down spiders, mosquitos, flies … anything is fair game. The chicken in me who hates capturing pests, and feels even worse for killing them, thanks her for taking care of that for me.
7. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Be Happier
It’s a true story. Not only is it impossible not to smile when that furry little ball of fuzz cuddles you, or crawls across your computer when you’re working or rubs up against your legs, but studies have actually shown that it only takes 15 to 20 minutes with a dog or cat to feel less anxious and less stressed. There is a physical reaction that takes place when you spend time with your furry friend wherein the level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is actually lowered, and the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased ... all the more reason to spend even more time together
8. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Lower Your Blood Pressure
The health benefits just keep on coming when you take in a cat from your local shelter. Along with a healthier heart, a decreased incidence of allergies and lowered stress levels, one study of 240 married couples found that pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet.
9. Adopt a Shelter Cat and Your Risk of Stroke Will Decrease
Although research isn’t conclusive, studies have found that cat owners have fewer strokes than people who don’t own cats. This is probably partly due to the overall effects of owning a pet, but researchers also believe that cats may have a more calming effect on their owners than other animals.
10. Adopt a Shelter Cat and You’ll Learn to Appreciate the Small Things in Life
I’m amazed at what catches Penny’s eye—that cat can literally sit in the window for hours staring down at the street. What looks like an ordinary piece of string to me is endless fun for her, and that chore of making the bed that I dread … well Penny’s favorite thing is to play hide-and-seek under the sheets while I’m busy doing it. In the two years we’ve had her, Penny has taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined, and she’s brought more into my life than I can ever repay her for. I just hope that at the end of the day she knows that even though I’m the one who takes care of her in the relationship, she’s really the one whom I’m so grateful for.