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Cats Can Offer Emotional Support to Humans Like Other Service Animals [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 29, 2017 07:25 AM EDT

Dogs, horses, rabbits, birds and guinea pigs are the animals usually used for therapy. Experts, however, found that cats can also help in therapies and even offer emotional support to people suffering from anxiety and depression. Felines' docile nature is beneficial to humans recovering from physical, emotional and mental trauma.

They may sound the same, but there is a clear difference between therapy and emotional support animals. Therapy dogs and cats, for instance, only visit the people they serve in hospitals, nursing homes, school and even prisons, meaning their stay is limited for a few hours. Animals offering emotional support, in contrast, can live with people and be there for them 24/7, Catster noted.

Watching videos on YouTube featuring cats' silly antics can be relaxing and a form of entertainment for many people. Humans' enjoyment of felines - even in something as intangible as recordings - goes to show that cats can offer emotional support like other service animals.

A research found that cuddling or stroking a cat can lower a person's stress and blood pressure levels, The Huffington Post reported. The human body tends to release oxytocin (the hormone that regulates social interaction and physical affection) when they are hanging out with pets. Basically, people feel happier or more content when they are with their cats.

Due to the numerous breeds of cats out there, people may have a hard time deciding which one will best suit them. The Maine Coon, Sphynx, Birman, the Exotic Shorthair, the Ragdoll, the Tonkinese, the Bobtail, the Scottish Fold and Straight, the American Curl and non-pedigreed household cats are the most suitable feline breeds for emotional support, Pet360 listed.

These breeds' laidback, cool and collected nature proves that cats can offer emotional support like other service animals. Though large in size, Maine Coon cats are gentle around their owners, are not easily startled and can be trained easily. This breed readily accepts human interaction and they are comfortable with cuddles and strokes.

Cats that offer emotional support should be at ease even with loud noises and unpredictable situations. Of course, they should be friendly and are not hostile to people and other animals.

A new research found that cats prefer human social interaction more than food. In the study, felines were offered to pick between food, toys, scent and human social interaction.

They gravitated towards humans first before food. This further proves that cats can offer emotional support like other service animals and they are just as loving as dogs even though they are not obvious about it.

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