Many readers say their cats helped them through heartbreak or grief. “My boyfriend broke up with me when I was 16,” says Ludovica from Italy. “My cat came to me while I was crying alone in the house. She licked the tears on my face and then curled up on my lap. I really appreciated it.” Cats also have an uncanny ability to sense when people are unwell. When Mali Fard from Quebec went into hospital with a heart condition, she says her cat, Gruntie-Pooh, “wouldn’t eat and only slept on the T-shirt I left for her”. Similarly, Carys from Northampton didn’t expect her pet to be quite so clingy when she returned from a week in hospital, but “to my surprise, she followed me around for a good week after I came home … she seemed protective of me, almost aware I was fragile. Either that or she wasn’t fed enough in my absence.” Matthew from Surrey got his ginger cat, Harry, from Battersea, south London. “About a week after we got him, I came home from work. The second I put the key into the lock, I heard him calling for me. Once through the door he leapt enthusiastically from the sofa and ran to my feet, head-butting my shoes and rubbing against my legs. I wondered if he wanted food, but he wasn’t interested when I shook a pouch of Whiskas, he just wanted me! Yes, I thought, this cat loves me very much.”
Some people, however, aren’t quite as convinced that their cats could ever truly love them. Among them is a Twitter user, Trudy Saunders, whose pet “just sits in perpetual judgment of me. Paws crossed over each other and head upright like a disapproving Victorian aunt”.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: While other pets have positive effects on your health as well, dogs have the added benefit of needing to be walked and played with numerous times a day. This means most dog owners get the recommended minimum 30 minutes of exercise a day, lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease and keeping them in better overall shape.