When you’ve just had your heart truly broken or got passed over for a promotion at work, there’s nobody quite like Fluffy (or Fido, or whichever animal you happen to cohabit with) to help you get through it all. But if you don’t have your own furry friend to cuddle up to, a brand new study has some good news: Just looking at cats and dogs can make you feel better and even help you conquer loneliness.
In three slightly different studies, the researchers asked people to remember a time when they’d felt rejected and then showed them pictures of cats, dogs, or humans, and asked them to name the animals or people. Then, they completed a questionnaire which measured their well being. The people who saw the animals reported fewer feelings of rejection afterward than the individuals who saw the humans.
The study’s lead author, whose name is Christina M. Brown, stated in a press release that this shows we “benefit from even the most minimal engagement with animals.” To use other words, all that time you’ve spent watching Youtube videos and looking at cat photos on social media may not have been wasted or in vain, especially during times when you were dealing with rejection.
On top of that, another study from just last year found that people feel happier and more energetic after watching videos of cats—and that these positive feelings outweigh their guilt over procrastination.
We all knew funny animal videos were enjoyable and entertaining, but who knew they could be so good for you?