General

The Health Benefits of Owning a Cat

October 25, 2017

This is a guest post by Raven Flanigan

The love and support a cat provides their owner can be a calming experience; a heartwarming head nudge or a soft purr on the lap are simple affections with a lot of impact! Cats are often looked upon as being unaffectionate and selfish, but that is far from the truth. Of course, they may act selfish and sometimes only rub up against your legs when they’re hungry, but they can provide a lot of comfort when you’re feeling stressed or even so much as having an anxiety attack or depression. The love provided from a cat is a rewarding experience regardless!

Cats can offer emotional support and science can prove this statement! When a cat purrs, the vibrations given off fall into the range of offering therapeutic effects for various illnesses; the frequencies fall between 20 to 140 Hz, which is medically known to be therapeutic. For this same reason, purring can promote bone strength, as the best frequencies are 25 and 50 Hz and the second best are 100 and 200 Hz. Purring also aids in the healing of numerous injuries, swelling, and infection! Their purrs alone can provide even more medically, such as lowering blood pressure, general stress levels, and even decrease the symptoms of dyspnea. Calming cat purrs are the most effective with people suffering from PTSD and anxiety who struggle with calming themselves down. Petting the cat and feeling its reaction change teaches emotional regulation in a way that’s easy to focus on due to petting the cat in a rhythmic motion. Cats also don’t purr at every stroke, so creating a goal to strive for (petting in a way the cat likes to produce a purr) can also aid in regulating emotions.

Of course, spending time with most animals can give positive affects regardless, not just cats; however, cats play a significant role in aiding mental health, as their attitudes are quite unique! What happens when you pet an animal? Your body produces the oxytocin hormone, and can increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which all provide positive feelings and lower stress. What cats help their owner’s most with are mental illnesses like anxiety, social interaction issues, and depression. Therapists have agreed that dogs are perfect to begin therapy with, however they won’t produce the same changes that a cat can. The reason is thought to be that dogs will put up with bad behaviors whereas cats will not; this means that bad behaviors and thoughts can change, as a cat provides a more life-like human interaction than a dog due to their human-like independency. Cats serve as a guide to healthy relationships in a way that no other animal can!

Cats provide a different kind of companionship to people than other animals do. Because of their independency like previously stated, interactions with them are more human-like, and this is what makes a huge impact to people who struggle socially, have had bad home experiences, or are even suffering from a loss. When struggling with any issue, you can feel lost or even like you have no purpose, but coming home every day to a cat that you must feed a few times a day and keep an eye on their litter box often creates a routine and sense of purpose that can help ease the symptoms of emotional distress. They also offer a quality distraction, as stated before that petting them appropriately will reward you with purrs, as well as focusing on playing with them correctly (they are hunters by blood, so to see them be as active as possible, there are some techniques to the feather wand!) can offer a distraction that not many other things can.

Cats can be registered as emotional support animals! An emotional support animal is a pet that helps ease emotional distress and is a vital part of treatment to help a person’s well-being. You can consider the support cat info here to find out how you can get your cat registered as an emotional support animal for mental health! Cats can’t be registered as service animals, but fortunately if your cat can become an emotional support animal, they’ll possess more rights than an unregistered pet. This means your cat can accompany you where they usually wouldn’t be able to and prevents you from being turned away from housing that prevents pets from living there. Of course, public areas and businesses aren’t required by law to allow your emotional support animal to accompany you since they’re not service animals. In fact, may places are looking down upon those with service animals and emotional support animals both due to an influx of irresponsible owners registering their pets just to take them around; a group of reporters were able to register a stuffed dog as an emotional support animal for a plane ride. This kind of irresponsibility makes getting your pet registered even more difficult and looked down upon in public for those who truly need them. Because of this, it’s advised that you take care in registering your cat as an emotional support animal and only doing so if you truly need them for support, as this can aid in making it less difficult for those who are currently struggling with mental and emotional stress who need their cat (or any pet) registered as an emotional support animal.

Cats are very helpful and comforting; they possess traits that can aid those with mental and emotional distress on the path to recovery. Cats have so much to offer with their healing purrs, charming independency, and unique companionship to help those struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social issues, and various other emotional and mental illnesses. And don’t forget, cats can be registered as emotional support animals, so if you or someone you know depends on their cat for support, it’s recommended to take the steps needed for the cat to gain rights and be able to accompany their owner more places. Cats are truly an unrecognized blessing to those struggling and in need of help; the comfort they provide can be overwhelmingly helpful and heal the deepest wounds.

General

Folly Beach, Oh How I Love You

July 18, 2017

Folly Beach is about 18 miles from our townhouse, which means we’ve become regular beach-goers. Being so close gives us the opportunity to spend a few hours splashing around in the ocean and walking along the stunning beach whenever the mood strikes us. And being/walking on the beach really does help to relax and calm you. I’m hoping it helps sparks my creativity, since that has been lacking for quite a while now.

Why I Love Folly Beach

One of the reasons why I love Folly Beach is that it isn’t overly crowded like the more commercialized beaches (I’m looking at you Myrtle Beach), and there are times when we’ve been out there and haven’t seen another soul.  And you can regularly see dolphins feeding near the light house! Add to the fact that Folly is just a stunning beach, and you can easily see why it’s my current favorite.

We’ve been down here since April 1 and we typically visit Folly Beach once or twice a week, depending on our schedules. There is even  a place near Morris Island Lighthouse where you can see the dolphins feeding! It’s pretty darn cool.

Along with going to the beach, there is just so much stuff to do down here. It’s mind boggling. Especially when you consider that, from where I’m from, there wasn’t much going on unless you wanted to do drugs, go to bars, hunt/fish (and I actually enjoy fishing), or hang out at the mall or Walmart. Here, there is something happening every single day. Farmers markets galore, which I love me some Farmers markets, music, art, festivals, and just so much more.

But Don’t I Miss Home?

I will say that, even though I don’t actually miss home, I do miss my mom and Aunt Lois, as well as my friends. But, at the moment at least, I’m still glad we moved. Harrison County West Virginia has all the problems of a big city without any of the positive aspects. I will always love WV, it is my home state after all and has some of the most beautiful scenery, but it has a lot of problems that I don’t think will be fixed in my lifetime. One of the biggest problems is the drug epidemic and, according to the CDC, West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S. and the rate just continues to rise. It’s gotten so bad that people are no longer shocked or surprised when they find used needles laying on the ground in populated areas where adults and children frequent. It’s beyond sad.

General House & Home

Just Call Me A Southern Belle

April 20, 2017
We've moved from West Virgini to Charleston, S.C.

We’ve moved! That’s right, we have left our home state of West Virginia.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember me talking about us wanting to move to South Carolina sometime in the future. Well, Mike got the opportunity to transfer to a store in Charleston, S.C. and we decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge. We rented a Uhaul, packed it full and headed down south. Mike drove the Uhaul and I followed in his truck with the 3 cats, who did surprisingly great during the entire 9 hour trip. Raven won’t be moving down until sometime in May when her current college semester is finished.

This is an exciting and sometimes scary adventure. Especially leaving an area that we have lived in all or most of our lives to start fresh in an area where we have no family or friends and don’t even know anyone. But you only live once and I would hate to go through our whole lives living in an area that we didn’t love anymore just because we were too scared to take the risks.

We’re a mere 18 miles from the beach and are currently renting a lovely town home. It kinda sucks when I think that we are now paying rent when we just got our house paid off last year. But we really were not happy in that area. Drugs (heroin, meth and pain pills) has crippled our home state, turning it into a depressing and unpleasant place. In fact, drugs are killing so many people in West Virginia that the state can’t keep up with the funerals! Add on top of that the cost of living was rather high especially if you compared it with the meager job opportunities and that the activities available were few and far between. It’s actually pretty sad when I think back on how much I use to love West Virginia, thinking that I would never move out of state. But in recent years, the wild and wonderful West Virginia that I grew up in has become a shell of its former self.

Anyway, we’re renting temporarily, don’t know for how long, until we figure out if this is where we want to stay or if there is another area we would rather call home. We still need to sell our house back home but, at the moment at least, I think we made the right decision. I don’t know if I will still feel this way after months of living here, but I am really enjoying it at the moment. The weather is amazing and there is so much to do!