Does cat attachment have an effect on human health? A comparison between owners and volunteers

Filipa A.B.S.G. Dinis, Thais Lima Fernandes Martins

Abstract/Resumen

Cat owners and volunteers from a rehoming centre were given the Lexington Attachment to Pet Scale (LAPS) questionnaire to assess their level of attachment to their own or rescue cats. In addition, heart rate and blood pressure were measured 10 minutes before, during, and after spending time with the cats. Consistent with other studies, the results here show that spending time with a cat can reduce heart rate and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and that this reduction is generally more pronounced in the cats’ owners rather than in volunteers from a cat rehoming centre. For owners, levels of attachment as measured by the LAPS scale were positively associated with this reduction in metabolic measurements before and during pet presence; i.e. the difference (B-D) was positively correlated with the level of attachment. This was not observed for volunteers. Interestingly, however, reported levels of attachment were not significantly different between owners and volunteers. For owners, duration of ownership had a positive effect on the level of attachment reported and this effect increased sharply after two plus years of ownership. This contribution to Human Animal Interaction (HAI) research suggests that attachment is an important factor in promoting health benefits to owners.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21071/pbs.v0i1.3986

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