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How Adopting a Cat Can Help With Addiction Recovery

Posted on July 11 2022

Image Source: Unsplash

 

How Adopting a Cat Can Help With Addiction Recovery 

While people often refer to dogs as “man’s best friend,” having a cat in your life can be just as beneficial, especially when you’re trying to overcome an addiction. Owning a cat can help you feel calm, loved, needed, and happy. A cat can serve as a constant companion, providing you support when you need it most. 


If you’re going through addiction recovery, these benefits can make the process easier. You’ll also have something to look forward to, and the responsibility of taking care of someone other than yourself. Maybe you’ve never considered yourself to be a “cat person” before, but you might be surprised by how quickly a new furry friend can change your life. 


Let’s take a closer look at how adopting a cat can help with addiction recovery, and how a feline companion can help you stay sober forever. 

 

The Health Benefits of Owning a Cat

First and foremost, it’s important to note that adopting a cat isn’t a short-term solution or responsibility. Pet ownership is serious, and you shouldn’t adopt an animal if you don’t think you’ll have the means to take care of it. 


However, if you’re ready to turn your life around and focus on your long-term well-being, adopting a cat is a great way to get started. Pets have been used to assist in addiction recovery for a long time. Some people even take advantage of pet therapy, and experience benefits like 


  • Reduced suffering and loneliness
  • Improved mood
  • Increased engagement
  • More motivation

Even if you don’t “officially” partake in pet therapy, having a cat at home can provide those same long-term benefits. Additionally, owning a cat can reduce your stress levels and make you feel less anxious and depressed. If stress and worry have been two common “triggers” for you, having a cat can be a great way to combat them. 


Most cats live anywhere from 10-20 years, so while owning one isn’t a small commitment, you can take comfort in knowing they will help you through recovery and keep you motivated to stay healthy for many years to come.

 

A Purr-fect Distraction

Despite your best efforts, it’s not always easy to stay on the wagon when you’re recovering from an addiction. Statistics show that anywhere from 40-60% of people with addiction will experience a relapse. 


People often relapse when life gets stressful or overwhelming. Some people fall off the wagon when they spend time with certain people, or put themselves in unhealthy situations. Cats can make it easier to cope with those difficult and stressful settings. They can serve as a positive, healthy distraction. 


You can stay on track with your recovery by using your cat as a helpful distraction as often as possible. Consider having “drink-free days” or creating fun mocktails to stay sober, and spend more time with your kitty on those days, especially when things feel especially difficult to handle. 


You can also use your cat as a socialization tool to get out more. While most people don’t think about taking their cats on walks or to the local park, there’s no reason you can’t! Or, consider finding local “cat groups” or other cat lovers in your area to arrange playdates. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make strong, healthy relationships that leave your addiction in the dust. 


Remember to take things one day at a time, and know that you’re not alone. Even if you aren’t able to get out and do things as often as you’d like, you’ll have a furry companion at your side. 

 

Love, Support, and Responsibility

Speaking of knowing you’re not alone, one of the most important factors of recovery is having a support system in your corner. Having people in your life that will lift you up, help you stay on track, and show you unconditional love is essential. Unfortunately, not everyone has friends or family members who are willing to step up. That can be devastating when you’re trying to recover, and it can make it a lot harder when it feels like you’re holding everything up on your own.


A pet can offer you the love and support you need, and they’ll be there for you no matter what. They give you a sense of purpose and provide something to care for. They rely on you for everything while giving you all the love they have, in return. 


It’s still important to maintain some type of human support and interaction. Consider options like


  • Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Addiction recovery groups
  • Online forums

However, take comfort in knowing that your cat will be there for you to fight off loneliness and help you get through difficult days. 


Whether you take in a stray cat that’s been lingering by your home or adopt a new feline friend from a shelter, having a cat could be just the thing you need to help with addiction recovery, make healthier choices, and find a greater sense of purpose in your life.