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Dog or Cat: Which Pet Do Retirees Feel Less Lonely With?

Loneliness in old age is not an easy subject. Retirees can also get company from their pets. But with which one do seniors feel less alone: dog or cat?

Various studies have now shown what many masters have known for a long time: Pets are simply good for us. Dogs, for example, can have a positive effect on our life expectancy. And our four-legged friends are also true mood boosters for our psyche: Thanks to them, we feel less stressed and happier.

These are all positive effects that are of course good for people of all ages. Especially in times of pandemics, many pet owners report how much their dogs and cats help them. Unfortunately, as a risk group, older people, in particular, are affected by isolation and its psychological consequences.

How can pets help seniors against loneliness – and which pets are particularly suitable for this? Psychologist Stanley Coren asked himself this question. He found the answer in the form of a recent study from Japan with almost 1,000 participants between the ages of 65 and 84. The researchers wanted to find out whether pensioners who have a dog or a cat are mentally better off than those without pets.

This Pet is Ideal for Retirees

For this purpose, general well-being and the degree of social isolation were examined using two questionnaires. The result: Seniors with dogs are best off. Socially isolated retirees who do not and have never owned a dog are most likely to experience negative psychological effects.

In the study, dog owners, on the other hand, were only half as likely to have a negative mental state.

Regardless of age, gender, income, and other living conditions, dog owners cope better psychologically with social isolation. Pensioners who do not own dogs. The scientists could not find a comparable effect in cats.

In other words, cats and dogs each have their own advantages, of course. But when it comes to loneliness, dogs might be a better antidote.

This is what Stanley Coren’s conclusion in Psychology Today is: “The bottom line seems to be that older people who are socially isolated due to the pandemic can keep their mental health stable with an easily accessible and effective treatment: By themselves bring a dog into the house. “

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