Cat videos offer a veritable Meow Mix of mental health benefits, from improving your mood to reducing anxiety. That’s one reason why they’re so darn popular. Here’s why onscreen toms and tabbies are good for your mental health.
1. Kitty clips may help support focus
There’s a link between fuzzy animals and concentration. After viewing cute animal images, university students performed better on tasks requiring focused attention, according to a study by Japanese researchers.
2. Cat videos improve our mood
Onscreen kitties make us feel good! In a study at Indiana University, most of the 7,000 participants felt more energetic and positive — and less annoyed, anxious or sad — after watching cat clips than they did before.
3. Sharing cat content connects us with others
“Cat videos may focus on cats, but part of the positive emotional response may come from interacting with other people, and the boost we get from making others feel good,” says Jessica Myrick, lead author of an Indiana University Media School study on cat videos and moods. The benefits don’t stop there: When people like your posts of Lil Bub or Princess Monster Truck — to name a few of the internet’s most famous felines — it can boost your self-esteem.
4. Laughter is great — and kitties make us laugh
A hearty chuckle increases your intake of oxygen; stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; and produces mood-boosting endorphins, according to the Mayo Clinic. How powerful is a good yuk? Simply anticipating laughter — while waiting for a kitten to climb into a laundry basket — can release endorphins, a study from Loma Linda University found. —Ken Budd
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This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.