With new figures showing that the wellbeing of millions of people has been affected by loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown, cats are helping to bring comfort and joy to those stuck at home.
Charlotte Mills, 28, an accounts manager for a construction firm, lives alone with her pet cat Chester in Newbury, Berkshire, and says Chester has helped her adjust to the sudden change from her “fast and furious” lifestyle during the lockdown.
“On an average week before the lockdown, I’d have been at work all week in the daytime, followed by exercise classes most evenings,” said Charlotte. “Weekends were all about catching up with family and friends and I was always on the go, life was fast and furious.
|Charlotte with her lockdown pal Chester|
“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.”
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.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats, supported by Cats Protection, Batttersea and Blue Cross, has released a report called 'Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?' The report identifies that cat ownership and interaction is one of a number of measures with the potential to tackle loneliness across all age groups in specific social situations. To read the report visit: www.apgocats.org.uk/reports
If you’d like to welcome a feline friend into your life, visit www.cats.org.uk/hands-free-homing to find out if Cats Protection has cats available for adoption in your area.
For more advice and support on all things cats and COVID-19, visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus