Today, Sunday 8th August 2021, is International Cats Day! You probably know that I have two cats: Monty and Percy. They have definitely helped my mental health. For this post, I wanted to include the ways that they have helped. Maybe it’s the same with other pets too? But, this post is specific to ways my cats help my mental health & how yours could help yours too.
I’m 100% a cat person. I have been around cats my entire life. When I was born my family already had 2 cats: Nosy and Cosy. They were so sweet and cute. Later on, we got Monty and Percy. I think there were only like 2 months between the two pairs of cats that we were without any. Part of the reason I wanted to study at Bournemouth Uni was because of the cat cafe nearby, I’m hoping to volunteer there this year too 😎
Introducing Monty and Percy
Before I get started on the ways they help my mental health, I thought it was only fair that I introduce them properly to my blog!
Monty and Percy are British shorthair tabby cats, 10 at the end of August 😱. There are about 6 cats on my street so often we see other cats in our garden ‘playing’ with Monty & Percy. Monty will just sit and stare at the cat, but Percy will hiss at them so they’ll run away.
Monty mainly sleeps on my bed, stretched out and snoring very loudly – he is often my alarm clock in the morning. But he does like sleeping outside too, under bushes, especially in the summer. Whereas Percy has lots of sleep spots with 4 in the kitchen, about 6 in our living room and then he loves sleeping on empty beds. Monty sometimes acts like a dog – he drinks very loudly and often follows me or leads me to my room!
Percy is the most unique cat I have ever met! He gets scared very easily and jumps at sudden movements, which is a lot like me. He also stares a lot, loves licking people, sometimes he bats people on the head with his paw and he absolutely LOVES my dad. His favourite food is fish soup and he loves to have a tiny bit of Edam cheese at lunch. Percy even knows that 2 tiny pieces are his maximum because he goes to sleep or jumps down once I’ve given them to him.
6 ways my cats help my mental health
They are therapeutic
Therapy dogs are a thing so I don’t see why a therapy cat can’t be a thing. I guess it must be because you can take dogs pretty much anywhere! This is why I love cat cafes so much 😻 When I’m stressed out, one of my favourite things to do is hold Monty’s paw. It just makes me feel a bit more relaxed.
Sleep is one of my coping mechanisms, something which I suspect I got from Monty and Percy.
They are loving
Monty seems to know when I’m feeling depressed or anxious because he comes over and curls up next to me. Sometimes he sits on me which is particularly nice because he’s so close to me – maybe this is a similar feeling to a weighted blanket? When Monty or Percy blinks at me, I know that they feel safe which makes me feel safe, in turn.
When Monty snores or purrs in the morning it sends me straight to sleep. Especially when he is cuddled up close to me with his head under my chin! Sometimes I wish he would come up earlier so that I would sleep in longer.
Related post: 4 benefits why you should get your children a pet
Cats are great companions
Another way that my cats help my mental health is by just being there. It’s knowing that Monty is at home waiting for me that makes me feel less lonely. I don’t have a lot of friends and the ones that I do have are often busy. I like that he will curl up next to me and stretch his paws out because he feels safe with me.
If I have a bad day or I am feeling particularly depressed, I just talk to him. It seems silly because he’s a cat and he can’t reply. But I often talk to myself, so it’s nice to talk to someone who smiles back at me! Or if I start crying, he will always crawl over to me and let me stroke him and hold his paw.
As I said earlier, Percy is a very worried cat, but because I’m a very anxious person and scare easily, we jump at the same noises. There is something comforting in that and I like giving him a good cuddle, especially when I can tell he is anxious too. He’s on stress medication and I’m on antidepressants, so there’s another thing in common too 🐱
Cats are stress relievers
Cats definitely reduce my stress, like I said earlier, holding Monty’s paw makes me feel calmer. I love to have Monty sit on my lap whilst I’m revising or watching a lecture at my desk. He’s all warm and cuddly which helps me to feel less anxious. Did you know that stroking or petting your cat (or dog) can release stress-reducing hormones? It also slows your heart rate and blood pressure level.
Related post: How to give your cat their best Christmas
They make me laugh
They always make me smile, whether it’s watching Percy sniff everything in the room or Monty sleeping under a bush thinking he is hidden. If you want a laugh, throw a ping pong ball on the ground and watch a cat chase it – it’s comedy gold. Last year in lockdown, I tried to play noughts & crosses with Monty and Percy – treats edition. I filmed it and uploaded it to my Insta account for them (yes, I’m that kind of cat owner). Check out the account here, if you keep scrolling, quite a long way, you’ll find a video or two of us playing!
Monty & Percy are part of the family
I’m sure anyone with a pet agrees that they are a huge part of the family. In lockdown when I couldn’t see friends or family, they really helped my parents and me out. Part of our days was still a routine, it was one of the only things that were consistent throughout the last year. Lots of people adopted pets within the last year or two. I know some pet owners don’t, but I love to buy Monty & Percy Christmas and birthday presents – sometimes I’ll even write a card.
Long story short, pets are magical!
Has your cat (or any other pet) helped your mental health?
Best wishes, Cx