In many cases, depression in children stems from underlying anxiety issues. In fact, 1 out of 8 children in America will be affected by anxiety disorders to some degree. Many studies have shown that cats (or dogs!) can reduce the symptoms of depression in children, making it easier for children and adults alike to overcome daily challenges. If you have the joy of sharing your home with a feline friend, you know they make great companions and unknowingly offer their relentless therapeutic care for us. Here are just 5 ways that cats are therapeutic for children with anxiety or depression:
Cats just love. They don’t ask for anything in return or judge us. For a child that can be struggling with anxiety due to complicated social situations in school with friends, coming home to a loving cat can be the best remedy. Many young adults come to rely on the attention a cat provides them when feeling isolated or depressed.
If one of your child’s depression symptoms or anxiety is excessive worrying, it can be difficult to turn off those thoughts. Playing with a playful kitten is a great way to distract a child’s mind, and is definitely a mood-booster!
Anxiety often leaves us feeling out of control, so a sense of routine and responsibility that comes with caring for a cat can provide a child with a purpose. The daily tasks required for cat-ownership are perfect for a child to handle, such as feeding twice a day, scooping the litter box, grooming, and just making sure they get love and attention! This new role your child has can help give them a little direction towards not feeling depressed or anxious.
If an anxious or depressed child is having trouble socializing with others, a cat is a great way to nudge them into more social situations. Often times if another child sees a pet, they are intrigued and excited. Since the child is already comfortable with their cat, they may feel more confident when playing together with their pet and a new friend.
Physical touch is healing for everyone. Sometimes children with anxiety or depression require extra reassurance and hugs. As parents or caregivers, we can certainly provide this, but the touch and acceptance of a furry friend is extra-healing. This is why it’s important that your child interact with a cat who enjoys being held.
Does your family have a pet that provides therapeutic relief to your children? Even with a pet, sometimes a young adult’s depression or anxiety issues require professional assistance. If your child is struggling with anxiety or depression, our adolescent therapy in Delray Beach can provide them with the additional care they may need to overcome it. Contact us today to set up an appointment!