We Americans love our pets and we have the vet bills and the face book posts to prove it.  But there is a payback that science has now confirmed.    According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, pet owners get medical benefits like lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and lower cholesterol.  You can’t put a price tag on that - all those medical benefits including the emotional boost of undying loyalty—unless your pet is a cat.

WebMD.com says being with your pet also reduces your response to stress and helps you to recover from stress faster. Pets pay off for kids too, helping them to develop empathy.

Some people treat their pets like, well, people and researchers say pets provide the same emotional connection as a human friend. And studies show that the more people benefit from their pets, they closer they tend to be to other people.