On International Day of the Girl, stylist.co.uk relocated to Blenheim High School, where a team of brilliant and opinionated girls aged 11 to 16 took over the website to have their say on the issues that matter most to them.
In honour of the UN’s International Day of the Girl 2018, Stylist is running a Made By Girls takeover, with all of our content online and in a special print issue created by girls aged five to 17.
On 11 October, we went into Blenheim High School in Surrey and handed over control of stylist.co.uk to a team of girls aged 11 to 16. The girls ran our morning news meeting, pitched and wrote articles, and learned about the roles of Stylist team members including website developers and picture editors. They even created their own mini-websites, highlighting the women they most admire.
We asked the girls to tell us more about what they were interested in. Paulina, an 11-year-old from Year 7, had one answer: cats – and, in particular, her cat, Tina.
Intrigued, we sat down with her and had a very interesting chat about how owning a cat reduces feelings of loneliness (a Swiss study conducted in 2003 revealed that owning a cat is similar to having a romantic partner), lowers blood pressure and has a proven calming effect. Indeed, when we dug into the science behind it all, we found that petting a cat triggers the release of oxytocin, the hormone known for inducing feelings of love and trust. No wonder a study has found that children with autism are more likely to be less anxious and calm while petting a cat.
With that in mind, we wanted to hear more from Paulina about her relationship with Tina. This is what she had to say…
“Tina was born on 4 April 2005. She is a black cat with green eyes. The first day I got her she was all over the place and she was super playful. From the beginning, I knew she would be an amazing pet to have because she was running all over the house. My brother gave her to me on my sixth birthday when she was only two months old. When I’m feeling down she’s always there for me, it’s like she knows how I’m feeling. I always know when she needs attention because she hugs me and purrs.
When Tina was older she had babies. She had two cats – one was white and the other black. I called them Tiger and Milky. One weekend when I stay at my brother’s house, Tiger disappeared. I was really sad but I soon got over it. I still miss him and no other cat will ever be able to replace him. He was a feisty, cute and playful cat. Milky also gave birth to two kittens.
I think having pets is important for girls because they make you feel better and happier. I think people who say they are cat lovers are more open-minded and sensitive. And, according to some research, cat lovers are more sensitive than dog owners. Cats also make you feel less anxious.
In my opinion, every girl should have a cat. Cats purr and snuggle with you when you’re feeling down. Whenever I am off school due to illness, Tina snuggles me and keeps me company. She’s my best friend for life.”
For more from Stylist’s Made By Girls special issue and digital takeover, click here.
Image: Getty/Paulina’s own photo