Most Shared

4 brilliant ways cats are secretly helping their owners live healthier lives.

So ... cats are basically magic. And this can be proven. With science.

4 brilliant ways cats are secretly helping their owners live healthier lives.

Cats.

The Internet loves 'em. You probably have a family member that has at least 20 of them and maybe sends you cat photos every day. If you don't have that family member, then you probably are that family member (just a heads up).

Anyway, most folks agree that cats are pretty amazing. But here's the thing: There's more to cats than videos of them hanging out in boxes or memes about having a cheeseburger. In fact, cats can do so much more than entertain the Internet.



"I'm just a kitten on the Internet tryna have a good time."

FACT #1: Cats can help you live longer.

It's true! And before you go off to your local shelter to adopt a zillion of them in hopes of becoming some kind of immortal cat-themed super-villain, let's put our protective safety goggles on and dig into some science facts. (And then we can talk about adopting cats and/or villainy!)

I mean, we were all thinking about Catwoman here, right?

How does this work? Well, cat purrs actually promote healing.

We all know what cat purrs are, although veterinarians aren't entirely sure what the deal is them — and no, that's not a setup for a Jerry Seinfeld-style joke.

I am so, so sorry.

They really aren't sure why cats purr. Some suggest cats do it when they're content, which makes sense. But they also purr when they're injured or scared, which probably means they aren't content. Like, at all.

But ... what's the science?

FACT #2: Those cute cat purrs exist in a super-special vibration range that has the potential to be medically therapeutic.

Your average house cat's purr has a frequency between 25 and 150 hertz. That's interesting because that's also the frequency at which muscles and bones are able to best repair themselves. So cats might be self-healing.

But that's not all: Those super-special, super-adorable cat purr vibrations also exist at a frequency that's good for humans too. Purr The Scientific American, these vibrations are well within "medically therapeutic" range (25-150 hertz). And it's not just one study either. There are several that have found that the pattern of cat purrs as well as their sound frequency can actually help both cats and humans.

What does this mean?

Uh, well, that your purring cat can help with bone and muscle repair, pain relief, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and so. Much. More.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

FACT #3: Owning a cat may mean less stress in your life.

Well, unless your cat likes to jump out and scare you (like mine).

My cat hiding in a paper bag. Because why not?

But science says that in studies about pet owners versus non-pet owners, folks who owned cats had significantly fewer stress symptoms. Dog owners were #2 in low stress. And in last place? People without any pets.

Here's the kicker: Owning a pet (cats and dogs) in general reduced stress-related blood pressure more than medication designed specifically to do that (aka ACE inhibitors).

Now, having way lower stress because of an adorable little fuzzball in your life is actually a really big deal health-wise because...

FACT #4: Cats can reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack! By 40%!

The University of Minnesota found that owning a cat might actually be good for your heart, and not just in an "Oh my gosh, I am just so overwhelmed with love for this animal!" kind of heart-stuff way.

In their study, they found that folks who did not own a cat were 40% more likely to have a heart attack and had a 30% higher chance of dying from heart disease than cat owners did. Which is just like ... what?!

So, why is this? Well, researchers at the University of Minnesota said this:

"If we assume that cat ownership is directly responsible for the benefits, then the most logical explanation may be that cat ownership may relieve stress and anxiety and subsequently reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases."

See? Less stress, less anxiety = fewer heart and blood pressure issues. Also, probably more tripping over cat toys at two in the morning, but I couldn't find anything about that in the study. Oops.

Another fact: Correlation doesn't always equal causation...

... as my former stats professor would say.

Yes, studies have found that cats can reduce stress, the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, and even potentially give you some purr therapy. But that doesn't mean that you should quit your job and hang out in a cave with some cats to live forever.

In fact, these findings could say more about the lifestyles of the average cat owner than the mystical powers cats have over the human body.

Still, these studies are pretty compelling. And hey, if that means I can go around telling people that cats are actually magic, then I'm totally down, y'all.


That cat is performing magic behind me, obviously.

So, yeah. Cats? Adorable little monsters who just want your love and also can heal you (maybe). And now for the infographic to prove it, just in case all this wordsmithin' isn't enough and you need some fun visuals to really get the point across.


Aww, yes, that information looks even better in infographic form.

But you know what's better than infographics?

Adopting a cat from your local shelter!

According to the ASPCA, 7.6 million animals are put in shelters every year, and of those, 3.4 million are cats. It gets worse because an astonishing 1.4 million cats are euthanized. That means around 37% of cats in shelters are adopted ... while 41% are put down.

So there are wonderful adoptable cats out there, just waiting for your love and time and attention. Actually, there are a ton of them, so if you can, you should totally adopt. And in return? They'll possibly use their magical healing powers on you ... and love you. A lot. And there's nothing better than that.

If you can't adopt right now, you can always foster a cat. Or volunteer some of your time at your local animal shelter. Who knows, if you stay there long enough, maybe you too will become immortal.

Hey, it's worth a shot, right?

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."