Moggies help lift the mood

Release Date: 14 November 2011

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

New research out today suggests that people find owning a cat has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing.

The study was carried out in July and August 2011 and involved over 600 cat and non-cat-owning respondents, with half of them describing themselves as currently having a mental health problem.

Conducted by Cats Protection and the Mental Health Foundation, 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.

For 33-year-old Jacqui Walker from the Nottingham area, adopting a cat marked a turning point in her life:

“I have suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder for many years and last winter it was so bad that I was signed off work and was put on anti-depressants. I was really struggling with life and felt like I had nothing to look forward to. This all changed the day that I met Timothy who I adopted from Cats Protection. Less than six weeks after he moved in I was able to return to work full time. Even my doctor was surprised with the change in me. As I said to him, maybe he should have prescribed me a cat instead of Prozac!”

“At a time when one in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem at any time, it is important we highlight helpful solutions that could make life a little easier,” said Dr Eva Cyhlarova, Head of Research at the Mental Health Foundation and an ex-veterinarian. “Previous research has supported the contribution of pets to our mental health and our findings support the view that caring for a cat can improve your wellbeing. Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and act as a link to other people.”

Peter Hepburn, Cats Protection’s Chief Executive said:

“These findings tell us what cat lovers have known for years – cats are not just great company, low maintenance and independent but they are actually very good for you. There are thousands of cats and kittens in our care that desperately need new homes and, with each one able to offer companionship and interaction, adopting a cat really can help all of us lead mentally healthier lives.”


Adopt a cat from Cats Protection