"No evidence" to support crazy cat lady stereotype, study finds

"Cat lady": There is no evidence to support the crazy cat lady stereotype that owners of the pets are disproportionately depressed, anxious or alone

The crazy cat lady is a common, recognisable trope in contemporary culture, usually associated with being single and alone.

But scientists have now found that there is “no evidence” to support the stereotype and that owners of felines are not more inclined to be depressed or anxious.

A study of 561 people showed that those who own felines did not report suffering adverse mental or social problems any more than those with dogs or no pets at all.

Researchers, from the University of California, said that this is despite the fact that “cats and cat owners are regularly ascribed negative personality traits”.

“We found no evidence to support the ‘cat lady’ stereotype: cat owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or their experiences in close relationships, the authors wrote.

“Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat owners as more depressed, anxious and alone.”

Such stigma is not attached to dog ownership, according to the research.

Having a canine is “often viewed as healthy” and “beneficial in motivating owners to get extra physical activity”, it states.

Misconception: Cats and cat owners are often labelled with negative personality traits, according to the research

The study also says that Facebook has previously published an analysis which found that people who posted photos of cats are more likely to be single than those who uploaded pictures of dogs.

It says that the social media platform’s research, which used data from 160,000 US users, also found that people posting cat images had 26 fewer Facebook friends than those uploading images of dogs.

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The research also suggests that cat and dog owners are more sensitive than those without pets to noises from the animals which show they are experiencing a negative emotion.

“This may be because pet owners have more experience interacting with these animals, or because they are initially more responsive to these animals and therefore seek them as pets,” the study, published by the Royal Society, said.

A recent study, published in Psychological Medicine, says that owning cats could be beneficial to several parts of our health.

In fact a study has claimed living with a cats can actually reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

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