Do Children With Cats Have More Mental Health Problems?

International Society of Anthrozoology conducted a research in 2017 and the results were, well kind of expected. The research showed that dogs got way more respect from their owners as compared to cats.

There are hundreds and thousands of case studies and research linking to the benefits of owning a dog while for cats, there are fewer researches as compared to the previous one.

According to Dutch Researchers:

  • Elderly cat owners are more likely to use mental health services as compared to elderly people without cats.
  • Cat owners with heart conditions had higher death rates than non-cat owners.
  • Women who own cats are heavy drinkers as compared to non-cat owners.

When it comes to children, there are several researches on whether pets are good for children or not. Bassett Research Institute recently compared mental health of 370 children of the age between six and seven.

According to the research, children with or without dogs did not differ in their physical or mental activities.

The research also showed that in one particular area, children with dogs were less anxious than children without dogs. 21% children without a dog suffered from clinical levels anxiety while 12% of children with a dog did.

What about Cats?

You would be wondering if children with a cat are better or without them. Dr. Moira Riley has the answer for us. With her team, the doctor compared children with a cat and without a cat.

The research was conducted on 180 children that lived with cats and 463 children that did not.

Here are the findings of the research:

  • Children with cats were three times more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental health problem as compared to children without cats.
  • More attention problems were found in cat-owning children.
  • No evidence was found that having a cat would lower rates of anxiety.

The complete result will be revealed in a forthcoming issue of the Human-Animal Interactions Bulletin here.

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