Cats and dogs prevent the brain from ageing.

Cats can keep the brain sharp in old age

Cats can keep the brain sharp in old age

Researchers in the United States have discovered that owning either a pooch or feline slows cognitive decline in later life.

Experts analysed 637 people aged between 50 and 100 - 185 of whom were pet owners - and found that all participants experienced a mental decline to some extent but that "deterioration in cognitive function with age was slower for pet owners than non-owners".

It found that the same was true for both dog and cat owners but those who took their canines out for a walk experienced an even slower decline in cognitive function compared to those who did not.

The team from the University of Maryland said: "We provide important longitudinal evidence that pet ownership and dog walking contribute to maintaining cognitive function with ageing and the need to support pet ownership and dog walking in (the) design of senior communities and services."

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