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Cats reduce exam-related stress, survey finds
The majority of respondents (55 per cent) said that having a cat around when studying helped to calm their nerves.

Charity studies effect of cats on teenagers

More than 80 per cent of cat-owning teenagers agree that spending time with their pet can reduce exam stress, according to a new survey.

Coordinated by Cats Protection, the survey found that 67 per cent of 14-19-year-olds agree that their cat helps them to cope with difficult situations. A further 86 per cent of teenagers found it soothing to stroke their cat and listen to it purr.

The announcement comes after years of studies showing that pets can help to reduce stress and even lower blood pressure.

When questioned about the reasons for their stress, 72 per cent of teenagers cited exam pressure. The majority of respondents (55 per cent) said that having a cat around when studying helped to calm their nerves.

“The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress because the affection they give back is so simple,” explains consultant clinical psychologist Elie Godsi.

“Unlike many other pets, cats make it absolutely clear when they want to be played with or stroked, or not! It can be really reassuring for teenagers who may be experiencing, for example, relationship issues or
exam pressures, to spend time playing with or stroking a cat: this can help to enhance their mood as the friendship and acceptance of a loving pet makes the world a much better place.”

One student benefiting from the calm demeanour of a cat is 15-year-old Nia from Birmingham. Mia attends secondary school where she is studying hard for her GCSEs. When asked about how her cat Damon helps her through difficult times, Mia said:

"It's like he can sense when I'm stressed. I'll be feeling anxious and then he jumps up on my lap and chirps a purry meow and rubs his head on my chin to let me know it's ok."

The survey of 1,000 respondents also assessed how much the teenagers depended on their cat for emotional support.

A staggering 72 per cent said that their cat was more likely to always be there for them than their friends. They also stated that their cat was more likely to love them unconditionally.

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Endangered turtle born at London Zoo

News Story 1
 An endangered spiny hill turtle has become the first of its kind to hatch at ZSL London Zoo - just in time for World Turtle Day (23 May).

Zookeepers filmed the moment the turtle came out of its shell on a time lapse camera, after keeping a watchful eye on the egg during its 136 day incubation period.

The turtle weighed a tiny 33g at birth and measured just 61mm, although it will eventually grow to around 27cm in size. 

News Shorts
Melissa Donald elected president of BVA Scottish Branch

RCVS Council member Melissa Donald has been elected for a two-year term as president of BVA’s Scottish Branch. She said she was “honoured” to be elected and hopes to provide a strong voice for veterinary surgeons, particularly at a national level. One of her first tasks will be to give evidence to the Scottish government on tail shortening of dogs, before parliament votes on whether to change the current legislation.

Melissa graduated from Glasgow veterinary school and worked as a production animal vet at Iowa State University, USA, for three years, before returning to Ayrshire to work in mixed practice. She then spent 25 years developing a small animal practice with her husband and has been involved with the BVA for many years. Recently, she took the decision to step back from clinical practice and currently runs a smallholding in the Ayrshire Hills.