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Cats might protect owners against heart attacks
CTV News

A pet kitty can offer unconditional love, companionship, and -- if the results of a study from the U.S. are right -- some protection against heart attack or stroke.

The study found that cat owners may be less likely to die from heart attack, stroke or other types of cardiovascular disease.

And in a strange twist for dedicated cat lovers, the study found no lowered death rates among dog owners.

Researchers in Minnesota analyzed the health information of 4,435 participants in the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, an ongoing national government health research.

A little more than half the participants were either current or former cat owners.

They found that, over a 20-year period, those participants who had never owned a cat had a 40 per cent greater risk of death due to heart attack and a 30 per cent higher risk of death to due to any sort of cardiovascular disease than current cat owners or those who had previously owned a cat.

The researchers said they adjusted their results for differences in age, blood pressure, smoking status, diabetes, cholesterol levels and body mass index.

The researchers conclude that "cats as pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals."

The study was presented Thursday at the American Stroke Association meeting in New Orleans.
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