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Letter to the Editor: Cats serve as social support during difficult time

Dear Editor,

GUYANA holds the dubious distinction of being the suicide capital of the world. According to the 2014 World Health Organisation report, the suicide rate in Guyana is five times higher than the world average rate. This does not even take into account the number of suicide attempts that go unrecorded. It seems that Guyana has a high percentage of depressed people. Cats help with depression and anxiety. Cats serve as a social support during difficult times.

People in stressful situations, talk to their pets to work out their feelings since it’s easier to talk to something who can’t respond or judge you. Cat owners are more relaxed and have lower stress levels than non-cat owners. Multiple studies have shown that having a cat helps us reduce stress and even lower blood pressure. Some of us don’t even think about our kids having anxiety or depression. Adolescents sometimes feel afraid about making or maintaining friendships at school. Having a cat changes that. Cats just love.

They don’t ask us for anything, they make no demands. For an adolescent whose feelings feel out of control, a sense of routine and responsibility can create purpose and logic where there sometimes seem to be none. Adolescents with anxiety and depression sometimes feel lost and without purpose. Having a cat changes that. Taking care of another living being can give them a little direction and purpose. Cats are a distraction.

Who hasn’t been surprised into laughter by their weird antics? Sometimes anxiety and depression require extra love and hugs. As parents or caregivers, are we always there for our children? A feline friend can give them extra furry attention and love. Purring has also been proven to help heal. Spending time with your cat can increase the hormone oxytocin. Sometimes called the “cuddle chemical,” oxytocin increases the pet owners’ sense of well-being.

For people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), having a cat can provide them with mental health therapy and help them learn about emotional regulation. For people who don’t have the ability to calm themselves down, being able to rhythmically pet a cat and seeing how the cat responds, can be really helpful in helping them to focus and calm down. Similar to a person who needs glasses in order to be able to see, a cat serves to improve the psychological functioning of a person.

Please adopt a cat today. Visit the GSPCA or call me anytime.

Regards, Donna Lam Cat Rescuer

Read more at Guyana Chronicle


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