Survey Reveals Our Cats Help Us Cope With Lockdown Loneliness & Mental Health Struggles

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on October 13, 2020

Being alone can be hard. Especially when we’re forced into solitude at the threat of an illness so new to the world.

The fear and anxiety unleashed by the stress of the 2020 global Covid-19 outbreak have been almost too much to bear at certain moments. But, as cat parents, we know we can make it through anything thanks to our feline family.

And a recent survey conducted about the coronavirus lockdown has shown this to be true!

The University of York and the University of Lincoln surveyed 6,000 United Kingdom residents about their time in Covid-19 lockdown during the months of March through June. And one fact that proved almost universally true?

Animal companions helped their people get through the lockdown.

Cuddling our Companions Made It All a Little Easier

Of the six thousand participants surveyed, 90% reported having companion animals at home. That same percentage said, “their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown”.

Daniel Mills, a professor with the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln and co-author of the study, explained, “This work is particularly important at the current time as it indicates how having a companion animal in your home can buffer against some of the psychological stress associated with lockdown.”

But as cat parents are wont to do, they still worried about their furry darlings. In fact, 68% of participants worried over what would become of their animals if they contracted Covid-19. People also expressed concern over getting their pet medical attention if the need arose.

Though respondents held these worries, they still felt far better having their furry companion at their side. Because as we already know, when we have our cats with us, we’re never truly alone. Their love encourages us to be the best versions of ourselves because if we aren’t doing alright, how will they be okay?

The Love of Any Animal, Furred, Feather, or Scaled, Makes the World Brighter

The survey also revealed it didn’t seem to matter whether an animal companion was feline, canine, feathered, or scaled. The emotional connection was there all the same.

Lead author, Dr. Elena Ratschen with the Department of Health Sciences University of York said, “We also discovered that in this study, the strength of the emotional bond with pets did not statistically differ by animal species, meaning that people in our sample felt on average as emotionally close to, for example, their guinea pig as they felt to their dog.”

No surprise there! All animals are great!

While the information was assimilated with the recent lockdown in mind, the implications of the survey appear promising when looking at mental health and animal companionship all the way around. “Findings from this study also demonstrated potential links between people’s mental health and the emotional bonds they form with their pets,” according to Dr. Ratschen.

But this survey’s results weren’t meant to create definitive answers about mental health and animals. But at least it has us talking about the correlation.

As cat lovers, we’ve long known one key to a happier and more productive life is giving love and being loved by a cat. We’re happy the rest of the world realizes this fact too!