Press Centre

Secret Life of Cats

  • Episode: 

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Mon 02 Jun 2014
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 23 2014 : Sat 31 May - Fri 06 Jun
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 27 May.
Secret Life of Cats uses revolutionary new filming techniques to uncover the beautiful, awe-inspiring qualities each and every one of them possesses, revealing cats as you've never seen them before. 
Cats have the balance of a ballerina, senses so acute they can see what's invisible to us, and unique social skills, making them deservedly the most popular pets in Britain. 
With senses so acute they can pin point a mouse scratch 30 feet away, cats are the most popular pets in the world, with 8.5 million of them in the UK alone.
As science uncovers more about their behaviours and senses, Secret Life of Cats deciphers the mystery of cats to discover how amazing they are. The documentary also reveals remarkable stories including how one cat saved a couple from a gas explosion, the cat who survived falling from a nineteenth floor flat, and the surprising relationship between a blind Labrador and the feline friend who acts as his guide. 
Plus, the programme reveals the surprising benefits of being a cat-owner. When you stroke a cat, your immune system improves, your blood pressure goes down, your body halts production of stress-related hormones – making you a third less likely to suffer from heart disease. 
Secret Life of Cats tells the story of Basil, who turned up on Sue Roff’s doorstep unexpectedly 16 years ago. Basil’s acute sense of smell prevented a potentially fatal accident for Sue and her husband one night in 2011. Sue explains: “I’d done dinner, my husband had gone up to bed. I’d cleaned the cooker and then went up to bed.”
Sue had accidentally left one of the gas rings on. Asleep upstairs, neither she nor her husband could smell the leaking gas. The pilot light on Sue’s central heating was due to switch on soon, and that would ignite the gas. 
Basil, like all cats, has a sense of smell 30 times better than ours. To him, the smell of gas was intense and dangerous. 
Sue continues: “At about 1.30am he came on the bed, patted my face and I pushed him away. An hour and a half later he came back, he was much more insistent. He came back and patted my face with one little claw. Then I knew there was something wrong. I could smell something unpleasant; it literally filled the whole house. He could have literally just walked out the cat flap outside, but he didn’t. If he hadn’t have woken me up, it would have just gone kaboom. I’m really proud of him, he is my hero.”
The programme also tells the surprising story of the relationship between a blind dog and his best friend, a cat called Pwditat.
Terfel, a 14 year old Labrador, is blind and used to be stuck in his basket because he couldn’t see where he was going and kept getting hurt. His owner, Ann Cragg, says: “I didn’t have him as a puppy, but I heard he was thrown against a wall, and that caused his blindness.”
Ann’s cat Pwditat quickly became Terfel’s best friend. Ann says: “He prefers Terfel to any of the cats. He must have known Terfel was blind because he bonded with him straight away. It’s quite obvious that there’s a bond there.”
More astounding still, is when Pwditat decided to take on the role of guide cat to blind Terfel. Ann explains: “Terfel is much more confident when Pwditat is around. He relies on him to avoid bumping into things. Often when they’re out, they’re nose to tail. Pwditat in the lead and Terfel following him.”
Secret Life of Cats also tells the story of how close the bond can be between cats and people, conveying their ability to change people’s lives for the better. 
Lorcan Dillon is nine and suffers from an anxiety disorder called selective mutism. Lorcan’s mum Jayne, says: “When he started nursery when he was three, he just didn’t speak. He was silent all day. He’d answer yes or no, very quietly. But it just tailed off to absolutely nothing and went on and on, so it was a massive problem. I couldn’t let him go out with his friends, because if he lost them he just wouldn’t be able to ask anybody for help. He was very vulnerable.”
Frustrated, Lorcan struggled to control his temper, couldn’t express his emotions, and found it difficult to talk to anyone outside his family, until Jessi-cat turned up.
Jayne explains: “She’s just been his best friend really since she arrived. He does struggle explaining how he feels. He can talk to Jessi-cat, he can cuddle her if he’s upset. It’s an outlet for his emotions.”
Jayne continues: “I remember one incident really clearly. He was upset by something. He was crying on the floor, but he wouldn’t let us go near him. Jessi-cat just sat with him throughout. She didn’t do anything, she didn’t touch him, but she just stayed really close to him until he was ok again. I think it’s an animal instinct, she knows he needs her and she’ll just be there for him.”
Many people think cats only respond to people who feed them. Lorcan has never fed Jessi-cat, but theirs is an unbreakable bond, which has had a huge effect on his confidence. 
“I actually heard him say to her ‘You helped me talk’. I’m not religious, but if I was I’d think she’d been sent for Lorcan.”