According to a researcher at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine’s Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, a cat or dog in the family reduces stress for autistic children and their parents.

Related: How to Get Your Cat Certified as a Therapy Cat

The study, conducted by research scientist Gretchen Carlisle and published in March in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, found that the benefits of pet ownership, including decreased anxiety and increased social interaction, outweighed the burdens of caring for the pets. Additionally, parents who owned multiple pets reported more benefits.

Considering adding a cat to your family? Read up on the different types of cats in our Breed Guide.

 



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