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Have you ever noticed your cat cuddling up to you when you’re having a bad day? If so, maybe you’ve wondered if your cat can sense your mood and emotions.
It’s no secret that cats and other animals possess an innate intelligence. And it’s certainly comforting to come home to a cat after a long day. So what does the research say about cats and your mood?
Can Cats Sense Your Mood?
Research indicates that cats do pick up on what their humans are feeling. For instance, one study discussed how cats form social bonds. The study determined that cats recognize different emotions, both in humans and in each other.
Cats also seem to respond or behave differently according to the emotions of their humans. For example, another study looked at how cats reacted to an object after watching their owner’s reaction to it.
Strikingly, 79% of the cats observed their owner’s responses to the object. And their behavior towards it changed according to their owner’s feelings.
So, evidence suggests that cats do detect our emotions and frame how they behave towards something accordingly. Cats read both your facial expressions and vocal cues to figure out how you’re feeling.
Research also shows that cats grow attached to their owners. So if you think your cat is more likely to lie on your chest or rub up on your legs when you’re feeling blue, it’s not just your imagination. Your faithful, furry friend is probably responding to your mood.
Are Cats and Other Pets Good for Your Mental Health?
If you live with depression or anxiety, you might feel better just having a pet around. Not only does a cat give you unconditional love, but having a cat could come with health benefits, too.
There’s evidence that human-animal interaction promotes increased levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, especially if the human and animal know each other well.
Kids with autism spectrum disorders or ADHD also benefit from being around animals. Pets help them feel calmer and even provide a form of social interaction.
Studies indicate that interacting with animals can lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Additionally, pets help you feel less lonely and boost your mood. Having a pet can also help you practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the art of being fully present and aware in the moment. Being mindful means you’re truly dwelling in the here and now with intention. This can be hard to do, especially when you’re struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety.
But mindfulness holds many benefits, including improved heart health, immunity, and relationships, and decreased anxiety and depression.
Pets help us stay mindful and connected to the present moment. After all, pets fully offer their presence to us every day, without asking anything in return (maybe except for some catnip or tasty treats!). When we pet a cat’s fur mindfully and slowly, it helps bring us back to right here, right now.
Petting and snuggling your cat could also make you feel more grounded, especially when you’re feeling anxious or sad. Your pet is always there for you, no matter what. In addition, holding a cat is a great way to connect with your sense of touch.
When you’re feeling sad, a pet can be a source of solace and joy to lift your spirits. There is something very calming about a cat sitting on your lap, purring contentedly. Life may pull you in a hundred directions, but your cat invites you to silently bask with them in a ray of sunlight.
In a world that often asks so much of us, a cat is a quiet ally that allows you to simply be. Many pet owners would agree: pets have an unspoken power to make everything just a little bit brighter.
Final Thoughts on Cats Sensing Your Emotions
Caring for a pet comes with responsibility, and it may not be for everyone. As we’ve proven, they are capable of feeling emotions, similar to the way we do. If you can’t give them the love and attention they deserve, they may feel abandoned.
Still, there are undeniable advantages to having a cat or a dog. Cats and other pets can soothe our anxiety and just be there for us when we’re feeling down. So when you’re having a hard day and your cat cuddles up to you, it might be their way of saying they are there for you — a loyal friend through all of your ups and downs.
Cats become attached to their owners, just as we become attached to them. What a wonderful gift of selfless love and friendship that is.