As Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cats we in this group are all too aware that loneliness has been identified as one of the most pressing public health issues of our time.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats (APGOCATS), launched a report on the 15th June 2020, which found that cat ownership and interaction with cats is one of a number of measures with the potential to tackle loneliness across all age groups in specific social situations. Currently, companion animal ownership or interaction is not widely promoted by health and social welfare professionals.
This report is based on evidence from mental health and social care charities, academics, housing and healthcare providers on the benefits cats can provide in terms of companionship. We also heard about the complexities involved with tackling individual loneliness. It makes clear that interaction with cats needs to be seen as just one measure that may help, alongside others such as social interaction.
The report makes a series of recommendations for care providers, welfare charities and the Government to explore allowing and encouraging people who are struggling with loneliness to interact with cats. In addition, the report calls on Government to commission specific research on the benefits of cat ownership to those experiencing loneliness, working alongside animal rescue charities.
You can see the full report here:
Of course, others may find the same companionship from dogs.
Below are some lovely feline friends I met in my constituency.