Do Magical Cats Really Save Lives?


On, Alan Cassels reviews news stories that fawn over the “magical” psychological and physical health benefits of having cats as pets. He then admits that he doesn’t really mind the poor quality of the underlying evidence — because he loves cats, too.

Cassels conversely notes doubtfully that, “There’s also the possibility — apparently taken seriously in some scientific circles — that cat microbes are making you crazy and killing more than a million people each year!”

For the purposes of full disclosure, Cassels includes a picture of himself cuddling his cat.

Unsupportable ‘cat therapy’ stories score high on cuteness but low on quality, even though many of us probably don’t care…(and have never heard of the word zoonoses) (, April 24, 2015)


  1. I don’t know about anyone else, but my cat is a great and good friend and he’s more intelligent and has more common sense than any of the psychiatrists that I know at this point in time. My cat helps keep me sane and healthy and he loves me regardless with his unconditional love. We were introduced to one another on the evening that I left the homeless shelter for my new apartment. He himself was homeless and adopted me as he climbed into my friend’s car, meowed, and looked at me as if to say, “Let’s get this show on the road!” We’ve been friends ever since.

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  2. Cats have as good a chance as anything else at being helpful. This is another example of “scientism” – nothing without double-blind studies counts as helpful, and the same thing has to help everyone or it doesn’t count, even when the categories we’re helping are arbitrary and subjective. Why not just let the person try out having a cat. If they feel better, it worked. If they don’t, it didn’t work. Kinda how they do medication anyway, except with cats, the only side effects are fleas and having to change the litter box.

    —- Steve

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  3. More power to everyone who has and takes good care of their cat, loves it back, and keeps it from being Cat that preys overmuch on the little wild things not ready for it, evolutionarily. In the natural historical view, cat’s in fact adopted us, but this makes them into an infestation when they are allowed to go feral, whether full- or part-time. Cats are very beautiful in the abstract, however–unlike other animals that adopted us, say rats and roaches, for instance. Too bad about the dander. On the off-chance my sister runs into me while running errands, she has to have pure non-feline moments of contact. But that is actually a fat chance, although better than that she’ll call. Meanwhile, it just takes some bad turn of fate, like getting locked out, big appetite, shivery rain– and Pussy wants me to death. Plenty to learn of from cats when you let them act to suit themselves, in watching how they organize their days.

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