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7th October 2019

With an ever-growing awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing, research shows that simply having a cat around can help people cope better with everyday life.

Eve Hawker with DustyIn support of World Mental Health Day (10 Oct) a survey by Cats Protection shows that over nine out of ten cat owners (93.7%) state that owning a cat helps their mental health.

The activities that people said helped them the most were:

  • Stroking their cat (72%)
  • Playing with their cat (58%)

When asked whether owning a cat has a positive effect on their mental wellbeing 26.1% said ‘very much’, 21.6% said ‘quite a lot’, 23.5% said ‘a fair amount’ and 22.5% said ‘a little’.

The research was conducted as part of Cats Protection’s More Than Just a Cat campaign, which highlights the many ways cats enhance and enrich people’s lives.

One cat owner who credits her cat with helping to dramatically improve her mental health is Eve Hawker from Romford in Essex.

After suffering a complete mental breakdown in January this year, Eve adopted fluffy black-and-white cat Dusty from Cats Protection’s Hornchurch & District Branch and says that he came to her at just the right time.

“I’m so grateful to Cats Protection for bringing Dusty and I together,” said Eve. “He has saved me and given me a purpose as well as more love and affection than I ever expected.

“He’s always with me and will help when I’m not feeling myself by nudging my hand and being even more affectionate than usual.

“Since having him in my life, my confidence has started to come back and I’m in a much better place and I absolutely believe he has played a huge part in improving my mental health.

“Dusty is so much more than just a cat, he’s my little angel.”

The survey also uncovered some slightly more light-hearted findings, including:

  • More than half of owners celebrate their cat’s birthday
  • Nine out of ten owners let their cat follow them into the bathroom
  • Around half of owners have shared a secret with their cat such as telling them who they fancied or that they’d placed a sneaky bet on a horse
  • Four in five make a special effort to say goodbye to their cat when they leave the house

“We often hear about how cats have had a positive impact on their owners’ wellbeing and it’s heart-warming to see how cats really can make such a difference to people’s lives,” explained Kate Bunting from Cats Protection.

“We believe anyone can benefit from owning a cat. From sharing a secret to being by our side during lonely times, cats lift our spirits and make us more able to cope with the stresses of modern living so having a cat in the home is a win-win for everyone.”

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 across the UK visit www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat   

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For further information, case studies, photos or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911 or email media.office@cats.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  1. The survey of 2,000 cat owners was conducted for Cats Protection by 3 Gem Research and Insights during August 2019
  2. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs
  3. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). 
  4. 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
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