I've grown up with cats and dogs. There was a cat and a dog in our home that were so friendly and peace-loving that they used to sleep together on the same mat.

There was another cat who used to accompany my mother on her daily evening walks and used to always walk behind her and come back home with her when she finished her walks.

My dog used to sit under my study table and I used to stroke its fur while studying.

I've seen my pets birthing in my home and the cats used to have kittens and the dogs (bitches) used to have puppies.

All these are cherished memories of my parental home.

So I was really surprised to find this article and I thought of sharing it with you so that you are also well-informed.

These are extracts from an Article that was News for me, informing me that keeping pets can cause cancer.

The marketing departments of the $70-billion-a-year pet products industry are working overtime these days to convince you that pet ownership is the key to human health and happiness. But the corporate PR departments and the media conveniently ignore studies that report pet-owners are more susceptible to a host of maladies. These include hypertension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, gastric ulcers, migraine headaches, and obesity. And I suspect the pet food industry is not going to send out press releases on three recent studies that link pet ownership to cancer death rates.

The pet owners were more likely to be heavy smokers than non-pet owners, and more of them had been diagnosed with asthma. And while pet owners were more physically active than non-owners, this did not translate into better health. Indeed, the pet owners were just as likely to be overweight as people who did not live with pets.

After adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic factors (“covariates”) such as age, smoking and drinking, exercise, race, and income, the researchers found pet owners were almost 3 times as likely as non-pet owners to have died of colorectal cancer (hazard ratio = 2.83). Surprisingly, this dramatic difference in colorectal cancer deaths was mostly attributable to living with a cat (hazard ratio = 2.67).

Pet-owning women were more than twice as likely to die of lung cancer as women who did not live with pets (hazard ratio = 2.67). Female cat owners were nearly 3 times as likely to have died of lung cancer as women without cats. Pet-owning women, however, were 40% more likely to have died from cancer (hazard ratio = 1.40).  And the effect was largest among women who owned birds (hazard ratio = 2.41) and cats (hazard ratio = 1.48).

Women who owned cats or birds had considerably higher rates of lung cancer deaths and deaths from all forms of cancers than women without pets.

The researchers concluded, “Using data from a nationally representative cohort, we found that keeping a pet in the household was associated with an increased risk of dying of cancer, mainly among women.”

The researchers suggest that the cat and bird owners might come into contact with carcinogenic chemicals called Aflatoxins through exposure to contaminated pet foods or animal feces. They also point out that some studies have found women are more susceptible to the effects of cancer-causing chemicals than men.

Other studies have also reported that pet owners are at more risk than non-pet owners of contracting lymphoma, breast cancer, leukemia, and lung cancer.

I don’t have a clue why there would be a link between cancer and pet ownership. I am, however, pretty sure the suits in the marketing departments of the pet food companies are not going to be churning out press releases announcing, “Women Who Own Cats and Birds Have Higher Death Rates from Cancer."

You can read the rest of the article here

The author of this article is Hal Herzog. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Western Carolina University.

He's an award-winning teacher and researcher who has published more than 100 research articles and book chapters. 

If you find this article useful, please share it with your near 'n' dear ones.


More By  :  Aparna Chatterjee

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