Research to launch "Rescue Cat of the Year" reveals lack of understanding about the behaviour of UK's favourite pet
New research out today (05/09/03) reveals that most people haven't a clue about what their cats are trying to say to them when they purr. The survey, carried out by the charity Cats Protection to mark the launch of the annual Rescue Cat of the Year Award, shows that two thirds of the population (69%) wrongly believe that cats are always happy when purring and shows just how misunderstood our feline friends are as a species.
The survey also reveals other misconceptions that the majority of people have about cats, including more than half (56%) wrongly believing that a cat's personality and friendliness are fixed at birth, a huge number (68%) thinking that cats live in dominance hierarchies, and (62%) thinking only un-neutered toms spray. A lack of understanding of one of the world's most historic and popular animals can cause pet cats to be abandoned or brought into the care of Cats Protection.
Cats Protection's Rescue Cat of the Year Award recognises that a leopard really can change its spots, and honours cats whose behaviour has dramatically turned around thanks to their caring and knowledgeable owners, as well as other felines that have battled against the odds to survive and cats that have made a positive difference to the lives of their owner.
Cats Protection's feline behaviourist, Rachel Casey, said:
"Cats have been domestic pets for thousands of years but the research shows that as a nation we still have a lot to learn about them. Cats need to learn about their environment - a cat that may seem "grumpy" may have just been poorly socialised as a kitten by its owner." "Worryingly most people think their cat is always happy when it's purring, when in some cases is undoubtedly not. Cats do purr when they're happy, but there are many other times when it is trying to communicate its feelings, perhaps of pain or stress, and is being misunderstood by people around it."
Dr June McNicholas, Health Psychologist, says understanding cats can mean happier owners:
"Cats are the No.1 choice of pet for people in the UK and understanding their needs makes for a better relationship. Owning a cat has really positive benefits for peoples' physical and psychological well-being. Last year's Rescue Cat of the Year, Mitzi, is a wonderful example of the special support a cat can offer when treated correctly. Despite earlier neglect, Mitzi has become a "therapy cat" at a hospital palliative care ward."
Produced for Cats Protection
Contact: Sarah Chappell0207 554 2739
For further information about the charity:www.cats.org.uk
Cats Protection Helpline: 08702 099 099