By now, we know that a house pet can be a major source of stress and anxiety for many people.
But a new study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that fear of house cats is not a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
What’s more, fear of pet cats is associated with increased risk for the development of heart and kidney diseases.
The study involved over 12,000 people from 11 countries and was conducted between 2009 and 2014.
The study is the first to examine the relationship between house cat ownership and health.
It found that “fewer than half of the population of a large city is aware of the prevalence of pet ownership and the health risks associated with it.”
While it’s not a perfect study, the researchers found that the general public is much more likely to have pet ownership than to be aware of health risks and that the overall risk of being exposed to pets was lower than it was for other groups.
“People with lower income, lower educational levels, and less education are more likely than others to have pets,” lead author Dr. Laura M. Dutkiewicz said in a statement.
“It is important to acknowledge that pet ownership can lead to health issues, including chronic diseases.”
A dog may not be as scary as a cat, but that doesn’t mean that a dog shouldn’t have a home.
The BMJ article is a great reminder that even the most pet-friendly home has the potential to be unsafe.
As more pets are adopted, there’s more room for them to spread disease.