Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

How has owning a cat helped your mental health?

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by SSCat2, Sep 9, 2019.


  1. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    Hi,

    I'm doing some research into the benefits of owning cats (well, cats owning us...) and I wanted to share my experience and see if anyone else has had significant positive mental health benefits from their furry housemates?

    I have 2 beautiful adult female cats who are 8 and 3 years old. They only met about a year and a half ago and it was during one of the toughest times in my life. My mental health was extremely bad, my negative thoughts were out of control and I had just moved into a new house by myself.

    I loved them more than I loved myself and, even though I didn't want to leave the house or speak to anyone or even be alive, I wanted them to be happy and healthy. My road to recovery started with going to the shop and getting them food. Having that fresh air and exercise was so beneficial! Then I needed to pay my bills so I could keep providing them with food and a warm safe place to live. One day at a time, I took small steps that ultimately took me from being unemployed and severely depressed, to being self-employed and an Emotional Resilience Coach. And I am so grateful for them every single day.

    Does anyone else have any examples of how their cat has helped them with their mental health?
     
    huckybuck, Pinto, TriTri and 5 others like this.
  2. bluecordelia

    bluecordelia Footy

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Messages:
    6,143
    Likes Received:
    11,268
    I have a tough day job dealing with safeguarding. I benefited hugely from having the responsibility to ensure I got home every night and am always on top of ordering food and any vet visits. Often I don’t want to speak to anyone when I walk in the door.

    The fact that Blue now is extremely tactile and is very much my girl is a great help when I read and hear all day about the awful things humans do. If I did not have the responsibility I would be out all weekend and back to my wild twenties. With a cat , I don’t want to go on holiday and leave her.
     
  3. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    Wow, I can’t imagine how difficult your job must be! It’s lovely that you’ve got your cat. And I completely understand what you mean about not wanting to leave her or go on holiday. For me, my house is my safe place with the cats. I don’t crave being anywhere else other than there!
     
    bluecordelia likes this.
  4. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7,393
    Likes Received:
    1,489
    Mine make me laugh every day and bring so much joy. Sitting out in the garden with them or in the cat run is so relaxing, seeing them enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (weather permitting!)

    The only thing that doesn't help my mental health is when Jumpy and Pixie decide to stay out late on summer nights, hunting in the undergrowth; I'm always terrified they'll meet a fox or a car. But with this chilly weather now starting, fingers crossed that season is over for another year!
     
  5. Rufus15

    Rufus15 ~ Orrono Maine Coons ~

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2015
    Messages:
    4,106
    Likes Received:
    5,296
    I'm severely autistic and cats are my special interest. They chill me out so much. There's nothing better than sitting down with a cuppa and someone plonks themselves on your lap or shoulder, rumbling in their sleep. Sensory-wise, it's a very calming sound and feeling, and it helps me rebalance
     
  6. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7,393
    Likes Received:
    1,489
    Another thing I love about cats is that their default "setting" is relaxation, and yes their purrs really help you to relax as well. It's great for calming Anxiety sufferers like myself. Just watching them stretch and roll on the bed displaying their soft bellies makes me want to spend all day relaxing with them! :)
     
  7. Loren95

    Loren95 PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2018
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    86
    Great thread! I got my kittens last year because of my chronic loneliness. They have helped so much with my depression and anxiety. The responsibility of looking after them helps me to maintain a routine. I’m not as lonely anymore now i have them. Just being able to cuddle them and love them has given me something to live for. At my worst points i used to often think i had nothing to live for and now i do, my babies.

    They make me laugh and smile everyday. When im feeling down, just their presence can be calming. When i wake up in the morning they will be in the bed, and when i come home from work they greet me at the door which instantly cheers me up.

    I do often feel guilty about not playing with them if ive had a busy day and im too tired. I also get the anxious feeling that something may have happened to them. I worry a lot if one of them eats less one day. But these are just symptoms of my mental illness and overall i think having cats has helped me so much through this past year.

    Its also helped my relationship with my boyfriend. We have this shared love of our babies and its brought us closer together in the way that having a child would!
     
  8. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    Wow! I can’t even begin to tell you how relatable your story is. Cats are absolute magic! My world would be a lot darker and a lot more lonely if it wasn’t my two. It definitely comes with its challenges, buts it so worth it!

    I used to suffer really badly with depression and anxiety too, especially around the cats considering they were the only things I felt love or affection for. The thought of losing them was awful!

    How do you manage your anxious thoughts about your cats? X
     
  9. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    Thank you for sharing that @Rufus15 :) you’re so right, there’s nothing quite like the purr of a cat. I’ve got a recording of one my cats purrs and listen to it when not with them and I just need to be calm. It is incredibly soothing!
     
    crystalwitch and bluecordelia like this.
  10. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    They do make it very difficult to get things done, especially when they’re sitting on you and you don’t want to disturb them!

    How do you manage your anxiety about them staying out late during the summer? X
     
    crystalwitch likes this.
  11. mrs phas

    mrs phas my home, my sofa, my rules

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Messages:
    3,769
    Likes Received:
    5,860
    my son is autistic and he has two ginger brothers
    they were actually accepted as assistance animals by the council when he was applying for a council flat, and they agreed to treat them as if they were guide or hearing dogs
    they know when he is on a down to come and jump on him and pad rather forcefully
    they know when he is having a meltdown they know to keep near him and try and distract him onto them ( hes never been unkind to any animal) so his meltdown disapates as quick as possible
    they are 100% indoor cats, but never try and leave the flat, they stay within touching distance of him at all times
    they have never been 'trained', they decided to do this off their own instincts and love for him
     
  12. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    That’s brilliant! How do you think the cats help him?
     
    crystalwitch likes this.
  13. Ali71

    Ali71 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    4,008
    Likes Received:
    5,949
    Work can get a bit stressful sometimes but there is nothing nicer than coming home and having two furry little faces meeting me at the front door. Then OH gets home with his furry face and we are complete haha.

    Spending time playing with them and cuddling up is so calming - they never fail to make me smile and can bring you round with their silly antics :)
     
  14. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7,393
    Likes Received:
    1,489
    I just try to cope with it as best I can. Luckily my 2 outdoorsy cats are very sensible, Jumpy has extremely quick reactions to the sound of cars or people passing on the street, and Pixie hardly ever leaves the back garden, she gets scared if she finds herself in the front garden! But they are 7 and 8 years old, they know how to keep out of harms way. Its just my paranoia after losing their brother to a car. One day I will extend my cat run to 18 foot long and then keep them all safe! But I think those 2 cats would hate not being able to get to the hedge, or the rats in the alley..!!
     
    crystalwitch and SSCat2 like this.
  15. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    I’m sorry to hear you lost of one them :( it’s good that they are sensible and aware of their surroundings, though it doesn’t make it easier to not worry!

    My oldest one doesn’t venture far as she’s still finding her confidence in the new environment and it’s very cosy indoors. But my other one goes out for hours and hours on end. I built a cat flap in the back door to allow her to have free roam otherwise she would have destroyed the house! fortunately, being an Emotional Resilience Coach helps with the anxiety. I went from being worried that awful things would happen, to just focusing on being grateful when she was back. It’s a lot more peaceful that way
     
    Treaclesmum and Loren95 like this.
  16. Loren95

    Loren95 PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2018
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    86
    @SSCat2 they are amazing little creatures and we are so lucky to have them.

    anxiety it is difficult to manage sometimes. Its completely illogical at time but you feel it nevertheless. I do try to challenge my thoughts with reason, and i am getting better.

    To be honest, this forum has helped massively. I never had a cat growing up and there was so much i didnt know, i was so worried i wasnt feeding them the right food, they would display behaviour that i didnt really understand. If i have any worries i can reach out on here and people always have time to offer their advice and knowlege. its such a nice community.
     
  17. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    16,444
    Hmmm. I'm on the other side here. I have a terribly anxious "streak" and I don't think having Oscar has helped that - except that I worry so much about him now that I worry less about my work (I'm a midwife). I am definitely less stressed about him than when we first rescued him - but overall my anxiety levels are higher as a result of having him. I worry about every. single. thing. all, the. time. He's one of the main reasons I changed my role at work, as when I was on call and called out in the night, he really didn't like it!

    We've recently had a bereavement and he's been unsettled too - not keen to let us out of his sight, as we kept disappearing on him, so maybe he's a worrier too.
     
  18. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    @Loren95, would you mind if I messaged you directly to learn more about how you manage your anxiety? Having previously had severe anxiety to a point where it badly affected my job and relationship (both of which I’m no longer in), I think we may be able to share some useful information to each other :)
     
    Loren95 likes this.
  19. SSCat2

    SSCat2 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    22
    I’m really sorry to hear that, it sounds very difficult! Would you mind if I messaged you privately to hear more about having Oscar is negatively impacting your mental health? :)
     
  20. Mrs Funkin

    Mrs Funkin Human mother to Oscar

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Messages:
    4,456
    Likes Received:
    16,444
    Well, there's not much else to say really @SSCat2 :) I am just a terrible worrier, I always have been - and having another living thing to worry about (besides my husband) has been "interesting". There was a reason we never had a baby....and now I have a furry baby instead. I also have major anxiety about what I will do when Oscar dies...but that's something I am trying to work on, on the advice of people here on the forums.
     
    huckybuck and SSCat2 like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice