Thursday, January 13, 2011

Experts Figure Out that Cats and Dogs Make People Happy

Is it possible to feel sad after looking
at this picture? From DesktopNexus.
Who could have seen this coming? Tarumanagara University in Jakarta, that's who. According to an AsiaOneNews report, researchers are finding more and more links between pet ownership and happiness. Monty P. Satiadarma, a psychologist at the Indonesian University, says, "Having a pet allows a person to learn to take care of something and elevates the sense of caring, which positively supports the development of well-being." Satiadarma recently oversaw research on the benefits of pet companionship to the elderly.

In some cases, pets can be even better sympathizers than humans. For instance, a dog's powerful sense of smell can pick up on pheromones secreted by humans in times of emotional distress--signals that other people may not notice.

The benefits are not only emotional, but physical. According to an Australian study, pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels. They also have a reduced likelihood of heart disease than those without pets. These results apply even though pet owners consume above-average amounts of meat and fast food for some reason.

So what's the deal with pets? Do you like them or not? Unfortunately, the article doesn't settle the question of which animal is superior--dogs or cats--but feel free to post your opinions on the matter in the comments.


  1. I don't really believe in it, what I believe in, is that those owning pets are just better and happier and more caring people all on their own... And that's why they choose to care for someone else! I might be mistaken, of course. But that's how I've been increasingly feeling about the subject lately.

  2. I had a dog for eight years. He made me laugh at least once every day due to his personality. As opposed to the idea that I needed to walk him at least once a day, he brought far more exercise into my life than I have done since he passed away. It is very easy to believe these scientific studies.

  3. Julia: That's quite possible. Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to find out if any true cause-and-effect studies have been done on this subject, but that sort of correlation/causation question could be made with a lot of science. Researchers certainly don't know everything, but they do their best, so if that kind of study doesn't exist yet, it probably will in the future!

    Nils: Yes, animals can be great for physical exercise. Exercise is also its own reward, though, so hopefully you can get back in the habit, even without a pet!

  4. I know what you mean and I am looking forward to more studies on the subject!