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Case Study

Annabel, Willow & Mog

Annabel, Willow and Mog

Annabel is 21, a former staff member of the Kitty Barn cat cafe who is the most down-to-earth person you will ever meet. She grew up in Sheffield and has suffered from mental health issues on and off throughout her life.

What is it about the city that makes you anxious?

When I go into the town centre for example I feel very nervous, with all the people being there judging me with what clothes I wear or even seeing gangs or homeless people. I like to be with someone at all times when I am in a busy situation like that. When I’m at home I feel like I am fine by myself if my cat is with me.

What made you consider an indoor cat to help with your mental health?

Even from being a young child, I believed that animals brought a sense of happiness and love to a family. Cats have always been there either to tell me to get up and get out or even just lay with me whilst I feel sad. They are always there for you. I feel like a house isn’t a home without a cat. The place I am currently living at doesn’t allow pets but even then I couldn’t say no to having a cat. They bring so much happiness and make you feel less alone.

How long have you had your cats?

I have had Willow a year. I have had Mog about 10 years.

Why did you choose this breed?

Willow is a Tortoiseshell – I fell in love with her when I first met her at Kitty Barn. I love long-haired cats, they are so fluffy and cute! Tortoiseshells have a reputation for being very big personalities but I don’t see that in a bad way at all. I love her personality. She is like my little shadow and follows me around 24/7.

I chose to keep her as an indoor cat because of the busy roads and I would hate for her to get stolen by gangs ect. If I were to bring her outside, I would only let her go on a lead as I would feel safe that way. I trust her to come back, but it’s just the fact of I don’t want an outdoor cat.

I also have a wild cat from Whitby. She was on a farm and was classed as a pest. Her breed I’m not so sure of as she has paintbrush tips on the end of her ears so she is a moggy, tabby and white but she has some wild cat in her somewhere. Her coat is very thick and matts easily and she is very grumpy. She only likes me, my family and my partner. You have to gain her trust which I find quite humbling how a wild cat chose me. She brings me so much joy.

How have they helped your mental health? What do you get up to together?

Mog has helped me loads and Willow is now my little shadow so it’s lovely. I love them both and they bring me so much happiness. Willow will sit on my knee whilst I am in online lectures and whilst I am making jewellery or painting. Some times she gets the paintbrush and I have to wash her paws clean. But she is so cute and lays on my chest when I watch tv at night for cuddles.

Mog is more sleepy as she is old but she likes to play with me in the morning and then at night she snuggles up with me at night. So she watches over me when I sleep. We usually wake up at the same time in the morning also.

Did you adopt or buy? What tips would give to someone adopting/buying?

I didn’t buy either one. They chose me. Mog from the farm in Whitby as I said earlier and Willow from Kitty Barn cafe when it closed down.

Let the cat choose you. And you need to make sure you have time for them as much as they make time for you.

What are your overall thoughts on getting a cat to help mental health?

I think it’s always a good idea. They calm you. Also, a study shows that when cats purr they can repurr themselves from stress, so they also slightly repair us too.