I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with animals growing up; my parents got us two kittens when my sister and I were little, but we also spent a lot of time at our nanny’s farm- where there were countless cats, a dog, chickens, geese, the lot. At the time I didn’t appreciate how fulfilling it was to spend cozy afternoons playing with the newest litter of kittens, but these days I’d happily queue up at the cat café for the privilege of an hour or two with some furry friends! I am a wholehearted believer in the power of animal company, and there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that owning a cat hugely improves your quality of life. Whether it is by soothing anxiety, boosting oxytocin production or generally providing companionship and affection, cats are a comfort, almost universally. This week I spoke to a few friends who I know to be committed cat lovers and asked them to tell me a little bit about their experience as owners of these lazy, loving and occasionally capricious animals.
P.S- That ginger fluff ball in the corner is my cat Toffee, she’s a majestic 17 years old and a little slow on her feet, but still chirps at birds, scoffs her biscuits and nags us for company every day.
Bryony’s cat Oli:
“There is a stereotype that says cats are haughty and self-centered, that they only want attention when you can’t give it. Whilst cats can be maddening at times, I have never known one who fits this stereotype. Every cat I have known has been intuitive, cheeky, gentle, and sensitive to human emotion; none more so than my little cat Oli. He is 15 years old now, and has been with me since I was 1 when he was 4 months old. Oli is trusting, soppy, chatty and has so much sass. He hears me or my partner arriving home way before a human could, and comes running to the front door to greet us. Some days he demands to be carried around like a baby all day, wanting to be constantly with us, so that we have become particularly skilled at one-handed housework. He sleeps across my face for most of the night and sits in my lap as I do my makeup every morning. Oli brings so much joy to our home and to all that enter it, and we are grateful to be his humans.”
Chloe’s cat Rolo:
“My partner gave Rolo a home when he was in a bit of a low patch. At first he was quite standoffish (Rolo, that is), but my partner persevered and when we moved in together Rolo kind of made us a little family. It’s been so lovely (though at times mind-blowingly frustrating) to see him relax, settle in and warm up to us. Now he follows us around, sits at the table (on a chair) while we cook and eat, kind of like a person, and occasionally deigns to sleep on the bed. He’s super playful and grudgingly but acceptingly cuddly. When I feel down or sad, I pick him up, stick my face in his fur (which is ridiculously soft, by the way) and inhale. It never fails to calm me down, which probably comes from having kittens in the family home when I was little. Having a fur baby has been great for both of us in different ways.”
Ellie’s cat Mitsy:
“My siblings are quite a bit older than me, so I spent most of my childhood entertaining myself; developing a strong interest in crystal healing powers, obsessing over the dance-mat, and playing make-believe with my toys. Mitsy arrived when I was 7 years old, and I am ashamed to say I saw her as another toy to play games with and integrate into my imaginary world. My favorite thing was to put her in my pram and pretend she was a baby. I now appreciate how patient she was; she put up with my incessant demands and, after some coercion, started to sleep in the pram willingly. I was delighted. Mitsy has never scratched or bitten me; although a few disgruntled meows have certainly come my way. She has put up with me crying on her, dancing with her, and has adapted to ridiculous terms of endearment. She is fat, sassy, constantly unimpressed, grumpy and probably senile, but she is the best cat in all the land and I am so lucky to have her.”
Alice’s cat Minnie:
“Simply put- I love cats. I grew up surrounded by them, and I can’t imagine my life without one. My cat Minnie has an uncanny ability to know exactly how I’m feeling, and comfort me when I need it most. During some of my darker moments, Minnie has been there for me. She appears in my driveway, waiting for me when I come home from work, and sit by me every evening to keep me company. If her cushion isn’t on the sofa in the evenings, then she stares at me until I put it in her spot to sleep on! On days where I feel lonely, she is always there to make me feel less alone. My life would certainly be missing something without a cat in it.”
I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I did! I’ll continue celebrating the relationship between pet and owner in next week’s blog, which will feature some furry friends of the canine persuasion. Keep an eye out for ‘Animal Magic: Dog Edition’.
 To read more about this study, please go to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/