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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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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’