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Adding a Few Years to Your Life is the Cat’s Meow

Have you tried the latest supplement that’s all the rage? Or that new therapy that fetched a headline last week where you apply a salve to your skin to feel younger?

Magic potions and elixirs are as common today as they were at the turn of the last century, and every month sees something new coming on the market to bolster your life expectancy. For whatever reason, our instant-gratification society seems to shy away from basic exercise and eating well.

For those who want an “easy” fix, being a pet owner is as simple as it gets. Nevermind the many stories of pets prompting speech in formerly mute kids or dogs who can detect cancer or predict seizures, animals just seem to be good for humans all around.

There are numerous studies that show everything from a dramatic reduction in death from heart disease, to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, to overall stress reduction and increased longevity. One study of 4,000 cat owners done by the Minnesota Stroke Institute found people who owned felines were 30 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Another in Community Health Nursing shows a decrease in the negative relationship between loneliness and general health among those who were attached to a pet.

Then, of course, pets can help you lose weight, as they give you a reason to be out and about walking or running them and making sure they get the necessary exercise. And at the end of the day, no matter how bad things get, if you have a pet you know that you have unconditional love waiting for you at the door. That’s not something that can be said for any human, and the positive health benefits of being loved unconditionally can be staggering.

So if you’re feeling a little ruffed up after a long week — or year — a pet might be the purr-fect (sorry, couldn’t resist) answer to de-stress and add a half decade to your life.

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