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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Cat lovers have a really good reason to hug their cats today—it’s National Hug Your Cat Day but before you criticize this somewhat unique holiday, just remember that loving a furry feline is actually good for your health.

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A 2008 study by the University of Minnesota found that cat owners were 30-percent less likely to die from a heart attack. The following year a subsequent study found a corollary between cat owners and a decreased risk of death stemming from cardiovascular diseases and strokes.

In addition, purring is really good for you. It helps reduce stress levels and lowers blood pressure. And, according to Scientific American your kitty’s purrs can hit a frequency that is medically helpful for their bones and muscles.

That’s not all! The use of pet therapy helps people with autism. A 2012 study found that autistic children with family pets “felt calmer and could socialize more easily than those without a pet.” And they help children learn how to read. A program called Book Buddies allows grade schoolers to practice reading aloud by bringing them into shelters to read to adoptable cats.

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Finally, cats can make you laugh. Laughter has been linked to a strong heart and immune system and improved memory function in older people.

And did you know in Ancient Egypt, cats were revered and even worshipped as symbols of grace and poise.

So there’s really no reason why shouldn’t hug your cat today. National Hug Your Cat Day is the perfect time to show your purring, cuddly cat some love in honor of the special occasion.

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So in honor of National Hug Your Cat Day, here’s one of the most popular cute cat videos on YouTube.