Cats indeed have a God-given instinct to be there when we need consolation and comfort. Be it sickness, worries about our job, bad grades, heartbreak over a divorce over or mourning the loss of a loved one, a cat will as you might expect show up to share our pain. The very feeling of a soft, silky, small furry body alighting on your lap, gently licking your face while running that purr box makes everything seem so much better and brighter.
Many children with autism, disinterested in the world around them are drawn to cats; perhaps their smaller size and quieter mannerism appeal to them. Many parents have shared how their autistic child who showed no interest in the family dog, but befriended the new cat immediately...
There are also many stories about nursing home cats. Claudia Winslow of Spokane would bring in her cat to the nursing home she volunteered in and watch the patients’ eyes light up when they spotted Mewsic. There are many resident cats in these facilities who are the patients’ highlight of the day. Their tight shoulder and neck muscles relax, their heart rate improves, and a powerful feeling of contentment flows through their entire body. Health care workers also benefit from the presence of a feline in their facility.
Therapy cats are particularly valuable when interacting with Alzheimer’s disease. Somehow they stimulate memory and forgotten emotions. What cat lover hasn’t read Making Rounds with Oscar?
Even though dogs have more conventionally been recruited as therapy animals and horses are second on the list, cats are being used more and more and will continue to do so because of their countless success stories. In any case, only cats can purr.
The mellow cat is the best choice for being a therapy cat, one that is tolerant of new circumstances and likes people. A therapy cat should be spayed or neutered, have his/her shots current and have trimmed claws wear SoftPaws. Never declaw a feline, even an “angel cat”"