I’ll probably get some heat for saying this, but cats kind of gross me out – so it’s a good thing that these “emotional benefits” come with owning a dog too. The phrase “crazy cat lady” conjures up an image of a sad, lonely, middle-aged woman who never found love. But in reality, that same woman is actually more emotionally stable and socially better off than you are.
According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, pet owners “had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”
So while cat ladies are often sterotyped for substituting human relationships with pet relationships, the findings prove otherwise. Psychologist Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio explained,
“We repeatedly observed evidence that people who enjoyed greater benefits from their pets also were closer to other important people in their lives and received more support from them, not less.”
The lesson here: don’t be so quick to pass judgment, because those so-called cat ladies apparently have it all figured out. Who knew pets were the real “friends with benefits?”
Amanda Seyfried Photo: Elle, April 2011