This was one of those headlines that made me say, I’m really glad there are people devoting their lives to studying this stuff.
No, I’m not being facetious.
Really. Go ahead and run your sarcasmometer all over me. I’m clean.
The headline in question: “In The Name Of Science, Here’s Why You Should Spend More Time Cuddling Cats”.
(OK, the original study also referred to mucosal immunity. But that lacks the same clickbait ring, no?)
Here’s what those mad scientists did: when anxious cats arrived at a shelter, they were assigned to either a “Gentled” or “Control” group. Team Gentle got cooing, cuddles and all manner of kindness (actual line from actual study: “Cats were gentled four times daily”). Team Control got…snubbed.
Seriously. Some unfortunate researcher was assigned to stand in front of the Control group’s cages and avert his eyes.
As in, not look at Control Cat.
Not smile at Control Cat.
Not make any effort to engage with Control Cat as a living soul.
And here’s the shocking, top-story-on-Dateline result: “The control group cats were less content, and more sick.”
In other news: Donald Trump has high self-esteem, Antarctica is a bit nippy this time of year, and vegan cheese is not food.
All most kidding aside, it is actually a very good thing for cats that someone is studying these things. (Cat-gentling, I mean — Donald and vegan cheese are getting enough attention already.) With “proof” that loved cats — excuse me, gentled cats — are healthier, happier, and more likely to have “positive outcomes,” strapped shelters may be empowered to allocate more resources to making time for love.
Tabby’s Place, of course, has the blessing of being able to gentle our brains out. With our small-but-scrappy staff, galumphing hordes of glorious volunteers, and devoted uber-donors, we are all about “facilitating sustained contentment” among our kitties.
I have a feeling, on the heels of our recent too-many losses, that you could use some sustained contentment yourself. You need more than 10 pumpkin spice lattes or 10,000 Parks and Recreation reruns can provide. You need something even stronger than 3 straight days of listening to Mumford and Sons songs.
You need pictures of well-gentled cats.
Your wish is my command.
Do go gentle into that good weekend, kittens.