We all know cats make us happier and healthier. But now Ukrainian soldiers are relying on cats to boost morale and get back in touch with civilized life on the front lines.
According to the Daily Mail, animals from local abandoned shelters along the battlefield have become a part of daily life for many of the men fighting to defend their territory.
Perhaps the best quote comes from a machine gunner named Pavlo, who said, "Where there is a cat, everything is alright."
It is an amazing story of the power of animals on the human psyche, and reminds us of the power of feline interaction on humanity.
But it should come as no surprise that cats have found a home helping soldiers during a war, as study after study has come out to prove the benefits of owning or interacting with a cat.
The only amazing part is just how well the benefits are translated from warm, cozy suburban America to the hostile and often deadly streets and fields of war-torn Ukraine.
Here are some science-backed reasons why the cats are proving to be such invaluable companions to the fighters.
1. Cats Help Us Escape Negative Thoughts And Moods
There have now been multiple studies that confirm that cats reduce negative moods.
Sure, they don't actually enhance great moods, but if you're already in a great mood, you're probably loving your cat anyway, and he or she gets to be a part of that joy.
But what could be more important for the men fighting daily than a mood lifter? They never know when they might meet their deadly foe, and the stress of war can weigh heavily on a combatant. Imagine how important each interaction with a warm, cuddly cat is!
2. Cats Are Equally As Important As Friend In Fulfilling Our Social Needs
A 2011 study shows that pets, including cats, are equally as important in fulfilling our social needs as humans.
Both cat and human friend interactions caused an increase in self-esteem, self-worth, and happiness.
The authors of the study concluded that, "one's pet was every bit as effective as one's best friend in staving off social needs deficits."
While soldiers are interacting with one another ever day, and camaraderie develops deep bonds, there is an important, vulnerable side to us that we may not express to anyone but our very best friend, no matter how close we are with that person.
It's no wonder then, that having a cat to fill that need when you're taken away from your daily life, friends, and relationships is immensely important for the men fighting in Ukraine.
3. Cat Purrs Actually Have Healing Qualities
Nerves, jitters, anxiety, lack of sleep.
The ever-present stress of war.
It is absolutely vital for their well being that soldiers find a way to remain calm and present in everyday, life and death situations.
The love for cats makes perfect sense, then, because studies have linked the purr of a cat to the "healing of bones and muscles."
Really, who can resist the heart warming sound of a content cat's purr?
4. Cats Help Give Us Stronger, Healthier Hearts
While the relationship may have to be developed over a longer time period for this benefit to show itself, this study shows that those people who have had cats as pets showed a decreased risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases.
Basically, cats make your heart healthy!
As the fighting rages on, perhaps the time spent in close proximity with their new cat companions will allow the benefits to spread to these soldiers.
When we look at all the benefits cats give us in our every day lives, some of which literally extend our years on earth, it is no wonder that the soldiers fighting in Ukraine have found joy and hope in their new cat friends.
Special thanks to Emily Parker of Catological.com for explaining and providing sources for the many benefits cats have on human health!