Charismatic cat helps new owner's mental health

REGIONAL Gateshead & Newcastle

16 April 2018
Charismatic cat helps new owner

When an unwanted animal is adopted it’s obvious how they will benefit from the arrangement; namely food, warmth and a safe place to call ‘home’.

But often the person rehoming the pet is just as lucky. One man that would undoubtedly agree with that assessment is Gosforth-based Phil Sherry.

Phil recently opened his home (and his heart) to Tasha, a Cats Protection Gateshead & Newcastle Branch cat who had been in foster care for over a year.

“I’ve always been a cat fan, but haven’t been able to live with any for the last five years, due to landlord restrictions,” he explained. “Coincidentally, my mental health has gone downhill a lot during those five years, so I decided I had to tackle the problem.

“I did my research and discovered Emotional Support Animals were a recognised thing, and asked my GP for help. He wrote a letter to my landlord and the landlord agreed to let me have one feline housemate. Result!”
Since he works full time and lives near a busy road, Phil was restricted to rehoming just one house cat, so that narrowed down the options when choosing which pet was right for him.

But it was a chance event that led him to Tasha, who is now called Lucy Fur, a name based on a play on words from a song by one of Phil’s favourite heavy metal bands. “It was sheer luck. I was getting a lift to an event I was speaking at and my talk had lots of cats in it as visual metaphors, so I was thinking about cats,” he said.

“Next thing I knew, we were driving past the Cats Protection logo on a newish looking building. I had no idea it was there, but I made a note to look it up when I got home. I read through the descriptions of each cat, saw she’d been on the bench for A YEAR, and that was that - rescued.”

Lucy Fur moved in with Phil shortly after and the rest, as they say, is history. Once unwanted and unloved, the charismatic tuxedo cat soon made herself right at home. “She absolutely loves her new life here,” he revealed.

“I made lots of places for her to hide when she wants to, plus she has a whole load of fancy cat gadgets to play with, feed from, drink from and sleep in. She follows me from room to room, chats to me, and she’s a lap cat if I’m sat on the couch.”

Described as “sassy, hilarious and loyal”, it’s plain to see how Phil’s new companion has enhanced not only his home, but also his wellbeing. “It’s long since proven as fact that time spent with cats is great for your mental health. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do,” he said.

Now an advocate for Cats Protection and its work, Phil is keen to encourage others to consider adoption: “Unfortunately, there are still too many cats roaming around with their bits intact, so there are many unwanted kittens and cats that arrive at rescue places.

“Even if people can’t give a home to these cats, they can go and help out at local rescue shelters; donate food, or help feed and play with them. They’re grateful, which I think helps create a stronger bond with their new Human – everybody wins.”