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Cats are the purr-fect antidote to exam stress

10 May 2017
Cats are the purr-fect antidote to exam stress
More than four in five teenagers (81%) agree that spending quality time with their cat can calm their nerves and boost their mood helping to reduce stress at exam time, according to a new survey1 by Cats Protection.
The study of cat-owning 14-19 year olds found that more than two thirds (67%) agreed that having a cat to go home to helped them deal with difficult situations and 86% agreed that stroking their cat and listening to it purr was soothing.
Following studies over the years showing that a pet can help reduce stress and even lower blood pressure, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity decided to survey teenagers to see if having a cat could help with exam revision.
When asked the main cause for their current stress levels, 72% of teenagers cited the reason as exam pressure and the majority (55%) said that having a cat around them while studying calmed them down.

“The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress because the affection they give back is so simple,” says Consultant Clinical Psychologist Elie Godsi. “Unlike many other pets, cats make it absolutely clear when they want to be played with or stroked, or not! It can be really reassuring for teenagers who may be experiencing for example, relationship issues or exam pressures, to spend time playing with or stroking a cat: this can help to enhance their mood as the friendship and acceptance of a loving pet makes the world a much better place.”
Nia is 15 and attends secondary school in Birmingham where she is hard at work studying for her GCSEs. She’s had her cat Damon for seven years after he was abandoned on the street as a kitten. Nia suffers from anxiety and credits Damon for helping her through difficult times.

"It's like he can sense when I'm stressed," Nia says. "I'll be feeling anxious and then he jumps up on my lap and chirps a purry meow and rubs his head on my chin to let me know it's ok."
The survey also looked at how much the teenagers depended on their cat for emotional support and found that 72% said that their cat was more likely to always be there for them than their friends and 86% said their cat was more likely to love them unconditionally.
Nia says that Damon’s calm, quiet presence at her side or purring weight on her lap really helps to reassure her when she gets worked up. "I just have to think to myself that if he could survive on the street as a kitten, I can get through exams," she said.

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, with over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres helping around 500 cats a day, or 200,000 a year.

Those interested in finding out more about adopting a cat from Cats Protection can visit www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat.
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For further information, an interview or photos of Nia and Damon, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at media.office@cats.org.uk, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.
Notes to Editors
  1. The research was undertaken by Atomik Research in May 2017, on a sample of 1,004 UK respondents aged 14–19 in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employees MRS certified researchers and abide to MRS code.
  2. Further survey results, along with photos of Nia and Damon, are available from the Media Office.
  3. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  4. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  5. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk