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Petting your cat has been scientifically proven to have therapeutic benefits

White cat petted by owner
© Shutterstock

A leading national newspaper columnist and her black cat Miles are both enjoying the sensual and therapeutic benefits of cuddles and fusses, the columnist reports.

By G. John Cole, 20 Feb 2019

Hannah Jane Parkinson, who writes about pop culture, music, technology, football, politics, and mental health for British daily The Guardian, adopted longhaired rescue moggie Miles several months ago – and a regime of stroking and scratching has taught the cat to trust, while also providing “comfort and pleasure” for Parkinson.

You scratch my back, I’ll be scratched by your fingers

While the Guardian is known to be read, in the majority, by Labour voters, the newspaper’s editorial stance is not beholden to the so-called opposition party and is on occasion critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn without losing sight of the unfathomable damage the Conservatives are doing to the UK.

But the love between writer Parkinson and her cat Miles is apparently a far more reciprocal arrangement.

“I like to rub his ears between my thumb and forefinger, as though it is a swatch of material I am considering for a reupholstery project,” writes Parkinson in her weekend Guardian column. “He likes it, too."

Parkinson continues:

“I like pressing the little jellybean pads on the underside of his paws, cold to the touch after he trots in. 

“He likes it, too.”

When it comes to “under-chin scratches,” the pact is much the same, reports Parkinson.

Here’s the science

Lest her argument be torn apart by trolls or Tories, who have no love, Parkinson mentions anecdotal evidence of an empathetic bond between humans and catkind, such as the observation that some cats “gravitate towards dying patients in care homes, to comfort them in their final hours” – although she doesn't mention the macabre implications of this phenomenon.

Parkinson’s reference to a 2017 Swedish studythat found that the risk of heart attack was 11% lower in pet owners” is also offered as evidence for the wholesomeness of her relationship with Miles. However, the pets in the study were dogs, not cats. 

There is a general consensus among humans that the dog-human petting contract is far less liable than the human-cat agreement to being compromised by unprovoked clawing. The aloofness and gas-lighting that comes part-and-parcel with pets of the feline variety can soon undo the feelings of well-being that an apparently functioning sensual relationship brings.

Cat-lovers are warned to maintain emotional vigilance until more is known about the situation.