If you live with a pet, you know the lengths you'd go to prove your love for it. Whether it's fluffy, scaly, feathery, or wet, a companion animal provides comfort, amusement, and even health benefits, including to your mental health. They're a luxury many of us say we'd never give up or scrimp on.
But there is a stigma with one popular kind of four-legged friend. You know all the jokes about crazy cat ladies. One new study, however, proves that whatever stereotypes you believe about cat owners just aren't true. The crazy cat lady, in other words, is not a thing.
Psychologists at Denmark's Aarhus University came up with these results in a roundabout way — by studying pet owners' responses to various animal distress noises. Dogs, it turns out, are better able to manipulate people overall with sounds like whining or whimpering; only cat owners thought cats meowing sounded sad.
Here's the money quote, though, from lead author Christine Parsons: "For symptoms of anxiety, depression, and self-reported experiences in close relationships, we found no differences between adults with and without pets," she said in a press release. "We suggest that cat or dog ownership is not necessarily associated with individual differences in psychological health, at least as tested here."