Ian suffers from a complex medical condition affecting both his physical and mental health but says his cat Spike keeps him going through times of despair.
Diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension – a condition that has similar symptoms to a brain tumour, including debilitating headaches - it sometimes leaves Ian feeling suicidal.
Throughout his worst moments, however, Spike is there to offer a supportive purr.
“There is no cure for this condition – you just keep getting through each day the best you can and Spike is a huge help with that.
“When moments come along when I think I can’t do this anymore, Spike seems to know and is there to comfort me. He will climb on my shoulder and look into my eyes as if to tell me he’s here and check I’m ok.”
Cats Protection conducted research as part of its More Than Just a Cat campaign, which highlights the many ways cats enhance and enrich people’s lives. It showed that 93.5% of cat owners think that owning a cat has a positive effect on their mental wellbeing¹.
Ian was initially reluctant to get a pet but since his partner Anna-Marie introduced him to cat ownership, he’s never looked back.
The couple previously owned a ginger cat called Mr Chips, who won the Purina Better Together Category of Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards in 2014 for the support he gave Ian throughout his illness and numerous operations.
The couple sadly lost Mr Chips three years ago but Spike, who himself suffers from cerebellar hyperplasia which means he’s a little wobbly on his feet, has since taken over this important role.
“You get so much back when you open your heart and home to a cat. I don’t know what I’d do without Spike in my life. He’s always there when I need him, brightening my day.
“Spike is more than just a cat, he’s my motivation to keep going when times are tough.”
To get involved with the campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/my-cat-is or Cat Protection’s social media pages (Cats Protection on Facebook and @CatsProtection on Twitter and Instagram) and use the hashtag #MoreThanJustACat.
To see cats in need of homes in your area visit www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat
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For further information, photos or an interview please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office by emailing on 01825 741 911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
¹The survey of 2,000 cat owners was conducted for Cats Protection by 3 Gem Research and Insights during August 2019