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For these owners, their feline pal is definitely more than just a cat. Read their inspiring stories.

Bella and Tracie

"Bella is more than just a cat. She's the reason I found my perfect job."

Tracie, 54, was inspired to change her lifestyle and career when someone new came into her life - her cat, Bella.

Tracie began working from home and decided to get a cat for company. She says: "I got Bella and we quickly struck up a close bond. She is such a fantastic companion she inspired me to give something back and do more to help cats."

Tracie began volunteering at Cats Protection's Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre before applying to be a Volunteer Team Leader. She believes it is thanks to Bella that things have worked out so well.

Ian and Spike

"Spike is more than just a cat, he's my motivation to keep going when times are tough."

Ian suffers from a complex medical condition but his cat Spike keeps him going through times of despair.

Ian has idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a condition that has similar symptoms to a brain tumour, including debilitating headaches, and can sometimes leave him feeling suicidal. 

Ian says: "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."

"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."

Domino and Marnie

"Domino is more than just a cat. She's my daughter's best friend."

Five year old Marnie finds making friends difficult. Having been diagnosed with autism, she struggles to communicate.

Since adopting Domino from Cats Protection's Downham Market Adoption Centre, Marnie's life has been transformed. 

"Marnie can often be found talking to Domino, telling her she loves her, reading her stories and asking her to play outside. It's amazing to see them together."

Lianne and Skittles

“Skittles was more than just a cat. She was my constant companion and supportive best friend.”

Lianne turned to Cats Protection's Grief Support Service, Paws to Listen, after the death of her cat Skittles.

Lianne says: "Losing her really knocked me - suddenly my constant companion was gone. I also felt guilty, as it was up to me as a final decision to put her to sleep."

“Speaking to someone at Paws to Listen helped me enormously – the volunteer helped me understand that I had done the right thing and that my feelings were perfectly normal. I still have ups and downs, but the support has helped me to focus on the good memories and to deal with my feelings of loss.”

Eve and Dusty

"Dusty is much more than just a cat - he's my little angel."

Eve says her mental health has improved since adopting her cat, Dusty.

In January, Eve suffered a complete mental breakdown and was signed off from her job as a nursery nurse - something she found difficult to come to terms with.

She adopted Dusty from Cats Protection's Hornchurch and District Branch, and although he was a shy cat, he soon came out of his shell. 

Eve says: "Since having him, my confidence has started to come back and I'm in a much better place. I believe he has played a huge part in improving my mental health."

Phil and Lucy

"Lucy is more than just a cat - she's my mental health coach."

Three-year-old moggy Lucy has enriched the life of her owner, Phil, by helping him with his mental health struggles. 

Phil says: "I have always been a cat fan but hadn't been able to live with any for the last five years, due to landlord restrictions."

After researching Emotional Support Animals, Phil asked his GP for help and wrote a letter to his landlord, who agreed to let him have a cat. He soon adopted Lucy.

"She can sense when I'm extra ill and her behaviour changes; she's far more present and cuddly, less zoomy and playful. Then there are the head butts. Cat head butts are power-ups, they instantly boost my energy and enhance my life."

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