Why do we love our pets so much?
Where they came from, more or less clearly, according to the most popular theory, a man tamed a wolf on mutually beneficial conditions: the first received a live security system, the second – food and a warm berth. But today we are guarded by walls, doors and locks, and we start dogs, cats, parrots, cute bunnies and hamsters with other motives – rather emotional. Stroking a pet calms, reduces the level of anxiety and stress, and this trick works even with those who do not consider themselves lovers of cats and dogs. This happens due to lower levels of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, and increased production of oxytocin, which is called the hormone of attachment.
“Interspecific oxytocin tango”
It is known that oxytocin can be produced even with eye contact between a person and a dog: the longer they look at each other, the more oxytocin is in the blood of both. The famous biologist Robert Sampolsky calls this phenomenon “interspecific oxytocin tango”, which appeared over the course of twenty thousand years, which is insignificant for evolution.
In general, most pet owners are confident that pets have a positive effect on their psychological state, help cope with negative thoughts and cheer them up.
Everything is clear with dogs – their owners walk more and longer, and regular physical activity, even in the form of a leisurely half-hour walk, reduces blood pressure and serves as an excellent prevention of heart and vascular diseases. But cats are not worthless in this matter: American scientists conducted a ten-year study involving four thousand people and found that the proximity to a cat can reduce the risk of death from myocardial infarction by almost a third. Most likely, this is due to the proven ability of cats to lower cortisol levels.