Pets and Depression


Imagine coming home after a long dreary day at work, pulling in the driveway to see a furry little face peeking out from under the window blinds of your living room. It’s as if he knows you are home, he’s been expecting you, and he’s happy to see you. As you walk in the door, you hear padded footsteps scurrying down stairs to greet you with a “meow” and a loving head-butt. The ritual proceeds to the kitchen for dinnertime; one stuffs his face suddenly oblivious to your existence, and the other runs from the window to his perch on his scratching post patiently waiting for head scratches. That feeling you’re getting is contentment…it’s home.


Now imagine, you are feeling as if there is nothing going right in your life and everything is blurry and meaningless. This is depression. It comes and goes with the wind, changing of the weather, days that end in “y” and anything else you can imagine. But those furry little creatures, cats for me, dogs for some, can bring you unending joy in your darkest hours.


Did you know that cat purring is thought to provide healing energy to both the cat and to its human? In an article written by Dr. Lev G. Fedyniak, “Can Your Cat’s Purr Heal?”, he notes a study done by researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler that records house cats’ purring in ranges of 25 to 50 Hz. Numerous studies have shown that vibrations at different levels can have different results on the chemistry of our bodies. Through Elizabeth’s research, she found, in addition to other studies, that cats’ purring has a significant healing mechanism that can increase bone density, act as a pain reliever, reduce respiratory distress, and heal tendons and muscle. This is just within the body of the cat doing the purring!



Go back to that day where you felt impending doom and no urge to even leave the couch. Now, add to your lap one or two purring kitties and imagine the results. Whenever I am sad, they seem to know this and follow me wherever I go maintaining contact whenever I’m stationary. Contact with animals alone can be soothing. Alan Beck of Purdue University says, “All people report feeling less lonely in the presence of animals, even birds. Animals are good for everyone, but particularly for anxious and depressed people.”


Have you noticed an increase in service dogs? This is because scientists, researchers, and medical professionals are seeing the true benefit of how pets can reduce the stress in a person’s life. You don’t have to have depression and anxiety to reap the benefits of a pet. But for those of us afflicted with such debilitating disorders, pets can be the light at the end of the tunnel. Studies show that it doesn’t even depend on the type of animal; be it cat, dog, horse, bird, and even fish. The bond created between human and pet is undeniable.



Fedyniak, L. G., MD. (2016, May 04). Can Your Cat’s Purr Heal? Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/can-your-cats-purr-heal/

Jackel, D. (2010, November 09). Depression & The Power of Pets. Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://www.hopetocope.com/the-power-of-pets-3/

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