Stroking a cat for just 10 minutes can significantly cut stress, research shows

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STROKING a cat for ten minutes can significantly cut stress, research shows.

The gentle act — a trait of James Bond baddie Blofeld — was already known to have a calming influence and to ease anxiety.

The team from Washington State University found that petting cats and dogs led to a  huge reductions in the stress hormone cortisol
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But scientists tested nearly 250 students to monitor the direct effect on stress levels.

They discovered that petting cats or dogs led to huge reductions in stress hormone cortisol.

To compare the effects of different exposure to the animals, a team from Washington State University split the students into four groups.

The first lot had hands-on interaction with cats and dogs.

The remainder either observed others petting animals; watched a slideshow of cats and dogs or were put on a waiting list to see them.

Salivary cortisol samples were collected from each participant from the moment they woke up.

Later those students who interacted directly with the pets were found to have significantly less cortisol in their saliva.

The university’s Prof Patricia Pendry said: “Just ten minutes can have a significant impact.”


She added: “Students have classes, papers, and exams, but they also often have work, bills to pay, and so many other pressures.

“What we wanted to learn was whether this exposure would help them cut stress in a less subjective way, which it did.

“This is exciting because the reduction of stress hormones may, over time, have significant benefits.”

James Bond baddie Count Blofeld used to stroke his cat, perhaps to deal with the stress of attempted global domination

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