Powerful night vision, precise hunting expertise, and perfectly adapted kittens. Cats are a massive part of our society, whether we care to admit it or not. Cats both keep our streets clean and keep us healthy, mentally and physically.

We might think of them for the most part as cute, funny, playful animals who sleep all day and give great cuddles, but the unfortunate truth is that some cats have an overall bad quality of life. They are abused and mistreated, murdered and stolen, time after time. Tens of thousands of cats go missing in the U.K. each year, with only a minuscule 2% of sheltered cats being returned to their owners and there are a whopping 6.5 million cats in Europe alone lost at any one time. Only 25% of lost cats are estimated to reunite with their owners again, whether that’s in a few days or over 10 years.

72% of cats in pounds and shelters are euthanised, or put to sleep due to illness and unaffordable veterinary bills, overcrowding or even mental illness. This is an overwhelming majority of animals killed for easily prevented problems. Cats don’t deserve to lose their lives for simple issues that are beyond their control, especially as this is most often the fault of selfish human beings. We don’t appreciate cats and the multiple benefits they provide us with.

"I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through." - Jules Verne, French novelist, poet, and playwright.

Not only are cats calming and sweet, but they are also scientifically proven to lower anxiety levels, improve allergies and cat owners are actually 30%-40% less likely to suffer from a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease over a ten year period. When we’re feeling unwell, cats are aware of this, and often come to comfort us, boosting our immune system.

"I've met many thinkers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine, French critic and historian.

Just as much as we know cats are good for us, we should acknowledge how important humans are in their lives too. In the wild, cats only live around 4-5 years, whereas a domestic cat’s life averages about 14 years. For cats that struggle with health issues, without humans they would have a great deal more of suffering and pain without relief.

Cat lovers have been relentlessly fighting to protect this smart species, and are working to prevent abuse and crime involving animals such as cats, and we can join the fight. You could volunteer at an animal protection agency, petition for animal rights, or donate to a reviewed animal shelter. If you’re looking into housing a kitten or adult cat, please adopt rather than purchasing, you can save a life.

"Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem." - Benjamin Hoff, American author.

Cats cannot speak for themselves, we have to do it for them, and we should be more than willing to protect innocent, helpless creatures. We would help if it were a human, why should a cat get less of a chance at life?

Yasmin Ammour - Norbury Manor BEC