Morning approaches. Eyes begin to open and paws stretch out to prepare for the day ahead. A busy day of entertaining customers awaits. These bouncing balls of fluff lie on the wooden coffee scratched tables, longing to be picked up and played with.
Sweet scented wafts of smoothies lingers in the air along with the harsh cracking of the coffee machine. It’s just another day in heaven for these felines in the UKs first ever cat café.
Having recently opened on World Cat Day the Bournemouth cat café is an innovation. Jaya Da Costa, owner was inspired to open the café by her own rescue cats. “It’s about the relationship I have with my cat. When he came to me six years ago he was very timid,” explains Jaya.
“Throughout that time we have managed to heal each other, I was going through a tough time, my mum had cancer and my best friend died, and I was going through some health issues at the time, so through healing him it helped me to feel better, the human animal relationship is really beneficial’’ Jaya added.
With 95 percent of pet owners viewing their animals as a member of the family in a poll in 2015, pets are greatly loved by their owners. This acceptance into the family rewards the humans in some unthinkable ways.
The positive psychological effects of animal human relationships are still uncovering. Studies have shown that watching fish can lower anxiety and this could be why they are often found in dental waiting rooms! It has also been found that owning a pet can significantly lower blood pressure. So to hell with medication, and just pick yourself up a little furry friend.
It has also been found by psychologists that the responsibility that a pet might provide us with, works to boost our self-esteem and works to lower depression.
The companionship that a pet can offer can greatly reduce stress and anxiety, not only this but owning a pet can increase motivation and help us to live healthier and happier lives. For example dogs, dogs are a highly demanding pet that are often extremely dependant on their owners, for people with depression, dogs provide an excuse to leave the house and get exercise.
Often the relationship between a pet and its owner can provide benefits for the pet aswell as the owner, it has been found that stroking a pet can lower your blood pressure, and cutting out the stress hormone.
It has been found that being around a pet produces oxytocin, the ‘cuddle chemical’ in both the pet and the human.
A volunteer at the Cat Cafe also expresses her views, “Being a part-time volunteer at cat cafe can have a huge positive effect on your mindset and your overall mental health. A cat care volunteer requires you to ensure the well being of the cats, make sure the customers are getting interaction, and all of the cat bedrooms and clean and safe.
Working with these gorgeous animals does wonders with mindfulness. Animals are very sensitive to emotion and having the connection with the cats at the cat cafe can really boost moral and give you a more positive mindset.” She added.
The benefits that animals have on humans has become so effective that animal programmes are now found in many children’s hospitals.
An owner of Verve London Boutique and Café explains that ‘‘we have people come in to our café who have medical problems and are on medication and for whatever reason, cannot have a pet themselves and so they come in and it helps them relax’’.
“some of the customers are even told to find a place like this with animals to relax and feel free to chill so they come here and they play with the dogs and it relieves stress” he adds.
He also expresses that “it is something different to do to help relieve stress and distract you from life”.
By Eliza Lyons