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12th January 2012

According to Cats Protection, purr therapy is the answer to ease the stress of Blue Monday (16 January) – dubbed the most depressing day of the year.

A cat’s purr is widely recognised as having therapeutic benefits for humans and therefore could help combat the inevitable January gloom, brought on by cold weather, unpaid Christmas bills and failed New Year resolutions.

Furthermore, the charity says that curling up with a feline friend is even known to lower blood pressure so cats really could be the purr-fect remedy for New Year blues.

“Sitting with a relaxed purring cat at the end of a hectic day is a soothing massage for the soul,” said said Beth Skillings, Cats Protection’s Clinical Veterinary Officer. “Perhaps this is because the reassuring hum is generally associated with calmness and gentle communication, or perhaps it is because the frequency of the vibration is in the range that can stimulate healing.”

Cats Protection’s recommendation is backed up by research carried out last summer, in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation, which showed that owning a cat can help lift the spirits.

The survey found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76% said they could cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends. Half of the cat owners felt that their cat’s presence and companionship was most helpful, followed by a third of respondents describing stroking a cat as a calming and helpful activity.

“These findings tell us what cat lovers have known for years – cats are not just great company but they can also be very good for you,” said Beth. “There are thousands of cats and kittens in our care that desperately need new homes and could help chase away the Monday blues.”

Cats purr in a range of situations - though how and why is not fully understood. It’s commonly believed that purring is a sign of contentment but this is not always the case as they have also been known to purr when they are in pain. Other lesser known facts include:

  • Cats purr by themselves as well as when around people
  • Female cats are known to sometimes purr while giving birth
  • Kittens are able to purr almost from birth and primarily purr when they are suckling
  • The mechanism by which cats purr is elusive because there isn't a specific part of their body that produces the sound. It has been suggested that twitching the muscles in their voicebox, the larynx, rapidly dilates and constricts the glottis, causing air vibrations as they breathe in and out
  • The loudest purring domestic cat is Smokey from Northampton who has received a Guinness World Record Certificate after her purr was found to be 14 times louder than average.

To adopt a cat from Cats Protection, please visit to find your local branch or call the charity’s helpline on 03000 12 12 12.

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Notes to Editors

  1. The study cited is based on a sample size of 621 with data which was collected between July and August 2011 via Mental Health Foundation’s website/social networking sites. The majority of respondents were women (83%) aged between 26 and 55 (78%)
  2. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat welfare charity and helps 230,000 cats and kittens each year through a national network of 257 volunteer-run branches and 30 adoption centres
  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 SCO37711 (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.
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