Cat Chow has always been a believer in the emotional and therapeutic benefits of cats. And this year, we are focused on connecting therapy cats with older adults who are struggling with social isolation.
Research shows the most serious disease for older persons is not cancer or heart disease — it’s loneliness. Social isolation and loneliness significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death from all causes and are associated with a slew of health risks including dementia, heart disease, stroke, and more.
In addition, the older one gets, the more likely they are to be lonely and socially isolated. Over 33% of adults over 45 feel lonely. And 1 in 4 persons 65 and older are classified as socially isolated.
Research shows that time spent with cats can help improve humans’ mental AND physical health. In the case of senior citizens, just 15 minutes bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain and can lower the human’s heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Over the long term, the benefits are even more substantial — with cat interactions helping to fight depression, lower cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease and stroke, and more.
At Cat Chow, we want to help older adults who are struggling with loneliness by making therapy cats more accessible. But we need your help.
Since 2020, Purina Cat Chow has committed to helping make therapy cats more accessible to persons in need by:
Do you think your cat would make a good therapy cat? Click below to learn about the requirements for you and your cat to become a registered Pet Partners therapy animal team and hear from some of our current therapy cat volunteers about their rewarding experiences.
Aging In Place. Seniors and Pets. https://aginginplace.org/seniors-and-pets/
Cacioppo JT, Hawkley LC. Perceived Social Isolation and Cognition. Trends Cogn Sci. 2009;13(10):447-54.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions. April 29, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html
Cleveland Clinic. Why Having a Pet Can Boost Your Mood and Keep Your Brain Healthy: Understanding How Animals Contribute to Good Health. April 29, 2020 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-having-a-pet-of-any-kind-may-boost-your-mood-and-keep-your-brain-healthy/
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25663
Nicholson, Nicholas R., A Review of Social Isolation: An Important But Underassessed Condition in Older Adults. J Prim Prev. June 2012. 33(2-3):137-52. doi: 10.1007/s10935-012-0271-2. PMID: 22766606.
Pets for the Elderly. https://petsfortheelderly.org/our-work/mission.php