Cats don’t drink coffee but humans do, so why are they always pictured together? An idle scroll through any social media page, or random search on google, often brings up cute pictures of cats and coffee mugs. There are sayings such as‘ Life is better with coffee, cats and books” or, ‘only my coffee and my cat understand me”. “Catpuccino anyone?” It’s clever marketing to say the least. We are relaxed by the sight of the cute cat and, by association, relaxed by a cup of coffee. Bingo, you are off to put the kettle on, or pop in to your nearest coffeehouse.
But why do we love it so much? Maybe we could learn from our feline friends.
Anyone who owns a cat will know how they love cream, or milk. We even have sayings about it, ‘the cat that licked the cream” etc. If they can smell it ,they will follow you around and pester you until you give it to them. Although they love it, cats can’t actual digest the lactose in the milk; hence you see all the ‘cat milk’ products on the supermarket shelves. Well, it’s the same for coffee.
Coffee is kryptonite to cats. In large enough quantities the caffeine can cause poisoning with symptoms such as muscle tremors, palpitations, increased heart rate, hyperactivity, rapid breathing. Large enough doses can even be fatal.
As we all know, coffee is a stimulant and contains caffeine, the most commonly consumed psychoactive chemical in the world. It gives you that temporary boost of alertness and energy, when you reach for that late afternoon pick me up. It also stimulates the release of dopamine, the pleasure/reward system of the body and we want more. We are now hooked.
It is argued that coffee does have beneficial effects such as antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals such as manganese, potassium and magnesium. Whilst a cup a day may not have any deleterious effects; long term, high levels of consumption by the population, can have a negative effect and be detrimental to health.
Firstly, although the coffee may add to your fluid status, I would argue that as it is a diuretic, it will cause you to lose water and therefore make you more dehydrated in the long run. The body has to breakdown and process all substances that enter, caffeine, is no exception. In order to get rid of the caffeine, it will need water to do so, therefore dehydrating you.
Different people react to caffeine in different ways. Some people can process it more easily than others. The caffeine can keep you awake if you drink it after 2pm, however, some people are so sensitive, that even this is too late for them. Decaffeinated versions that are created using the ‘swiss method, a chemical free process, are a viable option.
On the subject of caffeine, it stimulates our ‘fight or flight’ response, putting us in a stressed state. The body needs to be in a state of ‘rest and digest ’ to heal and repair on a daily basis. In our 24/7 world of constant stress, we don’t need to add to it further.
Did I also mention that it can cause increased heart rate, palpitations, anxiety and high blood pressure ?? Hmmm, who else is affected like that? Maybe our feline friends are wiser than we thought, though anyone who owns a cat knows how intelligent they really are!
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- Coffee is a diuretic so make sure you drink adequate amounts of water in your diet as well.
- Caffeine can cause heart palpitations, anxiety and raised blood pressure in susceptible individuals
- Can cause wakefulness so do not drink after 2pm if you want a decent night sleep.
- If you are a susceptible individual; decaffeinated versions that are created using the ‘swiss method, a chemical free process, are a viable option.
Why not take a lead from our feline friends and limit your intake of coffee to one a day, then we can enjoy the benefits, without the negative effects?