Cats Protection is marking Loneliness Awareness Week (15-19 June) by highlighting how owning a feline friend helps owners combat feelings of loneliness.
The charity says cats have been become a source of comfort and entertainment for owners suffering from ‘lockdown loneliness’ since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With new figures1 showing that the wellbeing of millions of people has been affected by loneliness during the lockdown, Cats Protection is highlighting how cat ownership can help by bringing comfort and fun to days spent at home.
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: “Even during normal times, people of all ages can be affected by loneliness. But that has been brought into sharp focus during the lockdown, with millions of people suddenly spending much more time at home. It’s made people realise that loneliness can affect those from all walks of life.
“Cats can be fantastic pets to help combat feelings of loneliness. During the lockdown, we’ve heard countless stories about how worrying times have been eased by the companionship of having a cat at home.
“Cats can help prevent feelings of loneliness in all sorts of ways, whether it’s providing entertainment with their playful antics, or being there for a soothing cuddle. Often, people tell us that it’s a great source of comfort to simply have another living being in the home to care for and talk to.”
Cats Protection is part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats, which aims to promote cat welfare issues and legislation in parliament. A new report published by the group this week looks at the issue of loneliness and cats, an area which has been underexplored.
Charlotte Mills, 28, an accounts manager for a construction firm, lives alone with pet cat Chester in Newbury, Berkshire, and says her cat Chester has helped her adjust to the sudden change from her “fast and furious” lifestyle during the lockdown.
She said: “On an average week before the lockdown, I’d have been at work all week in the daytime, followed by exercise classes most evenings. Weekends were all about catching up with family and friends and I was always on the go, life was fast and furious.
“Suddenly going into lockdown meant I was working from home and not able to see anyone. I make sure I phone people a lot, so I feel connected, but nothing can compare to having a living being around to share your days with. My cat Chester makes me laugh, is very playful and affectionate, so I don’t feel alone.
“When I’m working at home, without colleagues to chat to, it’s easy to get absorbed in what I’m doing, but Chester often pops on my lap and that ensures I take a screen break. He’s made the change to a slower pace of life much easier for me, I think I would have struggled without him. I’ll be working at home for the foreseeable future, but I won’t be alone as Chester will be keeping me on my toes.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Cats Protection is taking extra precautions to keep cats, volunteers, employees and the public safe. This includes re-homing cats from selected centres and branches using a ‘hands-free homing’ initiative. To find out more, please visit https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/coronavirus/hands-free-homing
To read the report visit: http://www.apgocats.org.uk/reports/