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Purring the blues away...

06 January 2021
Purring the blues away... Purr therapy could be 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, 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.

Can cats improve mental health?

A survey conducted by Cats Protection* showed 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.

The survey also uncovered some slightly more light-hearted findings. For example, it found that:
  • 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;
  • Four in five make a special effort to say goodbye to their cat when they leave the house.
At Cats Protection, we often hear heart-warming stories of the positive impact cats have had on their owners. Particularly during the isolating times of coronavirus, cats have been invaluable companions who always find a way to lift our spirits.

If your circumstances don’t allow you to rehome a cat, there are other ways you can reap the therapeutic benefits of cats. You could ask to visit a family or friend who owns a cat, or maybe even offer to be their cat-sitter if they go away on holiday (subject to government guidelines on social distancing). You could also volunteer at Cats Protection, as a fosterer or at one of our rehoming centres. If you’re lucky enough to be close to one, you could even visit a ‘cat café’ and have a relaxing coffee with some feline company.

*The survey of 2,000 cat owners was conducted for Cats Protection by 3 Gem Research and Insights during August 2019.