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Love your Pets Day: Katt, Salem and Gizmo

Our relationship with our pets can play a key role in our mental wellbeing. Katt shares her story.

For Love your Pets Day (February 20, 2023), Katt from the iTalk Peer Support team has shared her story with Salem & Gizmo...

I’ve heard a lot of people say that pets are good for mental wellbeing but I don’t think I quite knew the extent of how true that is until I got two tiny fur-balls of my own! Meet Salem and Gizmo. They’re two sweet little moggy brothers with two very different personalities.

Salem is a gentle giant - he’s like a real-life Garfield as food seems to be the centre of his universe! We’ve had to lock the treats away in a cookie jar as I once came downstairs to see that this feline thief had somehow scaled the kitchen cupboards to abscond with the treat packet like some kind of jewel heist in a spy movie.

Gizmo is chaos and adorableness personified into a tiny kitty body. He climbs the curtains, explores the most obscure corners and if your feet are covered by a blanket, they’ll become his new favourite toy and he will pounce. There’s a reason he’s named after a character in the film Gremlins.

These little ones have been a part of my family since June 2022. It’s hard not to smile even on my mentally wobbly days with these two capering about. They’re spoilt absolutely rotten and have a ridiculous number of toys which they like to make up all sorts of hilarious games with. Gizmo plays fetch like a dog with one very specific toy shaped like a Christmas tree, and Salem likes to hide his catnip-filled mice in my shoes. It’s so cute I can’t help but laugh even when laughing is the last thing I feel like doing.

They’re both very affectionate cats - always climbing onto my lap when I’m working from home or napping beside me on the sofa. It’s very comforting when I’m stressed out to have a soft little creature purring contentedly next to me. On the days where I don’t feel like getting out of bed, these guys are a great reason to get up in the morning. If I can’t get motivated for anything else, then the consequences of being late for feeding time is a very efficient motivator. Anyone who owns a cat will know exactly what I mean. Nothing like an indignant meow right in the ear when you’re trying to hit the snooze button!

I would definitely say that my cats have had such a positive impact on my wellbeing, not only because they’re great little companions but also knowing that I’m solely responsible for my pets’ welfare means I’m much more motivated to make the time to check in with my mental health. It’s incredibly rewarding to earn the trust of an animal and watch them grow and thrive alongside you.

Do you need mental health support living in the wider Hampshire region (outside Portsmouth and Southampton)? iTalk offers varied support from one to one sessions, to group therapy and peer support.

Do you want support from people who have lived experience of mental health issues? Head to Our Services page, and find our Peer Support teams.

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