A study by the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center presented Thursday at the American Stroke Association meeting found that people who had previously or currently owned cats were less likely to die from heart attack and other cardiovascular disease.The study examined data from 4,435 people, ranging in age from 30 to 75, participating in ongoing research with the National Health and Nutritional Examination Study. The researchers found that over a 20-year period, participants who had never owned a cat were 40 percent more likely to die from heart attack, and 30 percent more likely to die from any kind of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers don’t know exactly what causes the health benefit, but lead study investigator Dr. Adnan Qureshi believes it may be related to the stress-reducing effect a cat has on its owner. He admits, however, that the personality type of a cat owner may be the major contributing factor.
“Maybe cat owners tend not to have high-stress personalities, or they are just the type of people that are not highly affected by anxiety or high-stress situations,” Qureshi said.
Some of the controversy over this study comes from previous studies that showed a greatly increased rate of heart attack survival for dog owners, but no benefit at all for cat owners.
Source: ABC News
- Do you think that cats lower heart attack risk? Or is it possible that cat owners lead a less stressful life?