Don't worry if you're a 'crazy cat lady', new research says it's not such a bad thing

A study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles has found there is no evidence that 'cat ladies' actually fit their stereotype

Person holding group of a little cats in arms.
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Cat owners, the next time someone calls you a “crazy cat lady,” you can take it as a compliment.

New research has revealed there’s no evidence to support the fact that the classic crazy cat lady troupe actually exists. Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles analysed more than 500 pet owners and found that nothing supported the long-held stereotype that’s been teased over time.

In total 561 people took part in the study, with researchers asking about their pet ownership, mental well-being, and social lives.

“We found no evidence to support the 'cat lady' stereotype: cat-owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships," the study said. "Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat-owners as more depressed, anxious or alone."

This was also backed up by a 2017 study that found no correlation between cat ownership and mental health issues.

The benefits of loving a cat

Unsurprisingly, the study also found that cat and dog owners were more likely to emphasise with an animal’s distress calls meaning that they were more likely to get sad versus non-pet owners when they heard a cat meow or dog whimper.

Although, we already knew about the many health benefits of owning a pet. Back in April, UAE residents shared with us their tales of how their furry companions have change their lives.

“When I adopted my first kitten, I received love from a source I had not expected,” said one Sharjah resident.

After giving birth and going through many years in a difficult marriage, she ­developed depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She also began developing physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, joint pains and severe ­migraines, or what she believes was stress manifesting in different ways.

“My Arabian mau would follow me around, sleep on me, purr at being touched. Very soon I adopted another kitten to keep him company. Both of them now wait for me to open my bedroom door early in the morning so that they can cuddle with me. I don’t remember the last time I had a migraine.”

This change in her health isn’t merely a physiological or placebo effect, as Dr Fadi Daoud of Australian Vet explained. “Once you elevate the serotonin levels because you’re happy and relaxed, it indirectly improves your immune system and that improves your physical health,” he says. “­Animals really can heal their ­companions to a certain extent.”