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How Cats Improve Your Mood: Olga’s Ways of Relieving My Stress

Researchers have studied how cats and dogs improve their owners’ lives, and although I’m glad the subject is receiving more attention, I don’t need to see the studies to confirm that my cat helps me handle stress. For most of us, life isn’t easy, and for me, it’s hard to imagine it without Olga. Sometimes, when I’m in a bad mood, she’ll do something so ridiculous that it makes me laugh and remember to take life less seriously.

The Morning Routine

Although I’m more of a morning person now, rising before dawn and preparing for work aren’t my favorite activities. Like most crepuscular pets, Olga is pretty energetic before 6:00 AM, and her enthusiasm for a new day does not gel with my zombie-like brain until I make it to the coffee maker.

Good morning!

After I put her food in the bowl, she’ll eat for a few minutes and then walk over to the window to watch the birds at the feeder. She’ll walk back and forth a few times before finishing her food, and after grooming, she finds ways to annoy and entertain me before work. It usually involves laying on her back and wiggling around with her claws attached to the bottom of the recliner I’m sitting in.

If I stare at her when she’s scratching the chair, she’ll give me a funny look, with her pupils dilated, and try to claw her way up the chair to hit me. Most of the time, she chickens out halfway up, drops to the ground, and runs into the spare bedroom. It always cracks me up and puts me in a good mood, but I’m also jealous of her because she gets to go wild and run around while I have to go to work.

Olga the cat lying on lap
She also gets to nap while I work…

What the Researchers Leave Out

Cats purr loudly and rub their heads on your legs or arms to show affection, and most cats can recognize their owners from a large group of people. Research shows cats are more affectionate than aloof, and nearly every cat owner agrees. However, the studies don’t mention the other minor ways felines enrich our lives.

Whenever I leave the house and return a few hours later, Olga waits by the door to greet me. If I’m not paying attention to her when she wants to play, she’ll pull a paper ball from under the couch and hit it in my direction or leap on the windowsill and bat the blinds around. When I walk by her favorite scratching chair, and she’s in a wild mood, she’ll climb around it like a Lemur and play hide and seek by ducking her head behind the chair and popping it out.

Olga popping her head over the chair
Hi, Dad!

When you frequently see your cat act like a clown, it’s hard to let stress ruin your day. Olga’s antics keep me entertained and make me realize that cats are more complicated than we give them credit. They love us and follow us around because we feed them and keep them safe, but they want us to be happy, and they don’t mind acting like goofballs to put a smile on our faces.


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