Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Therapy Cats

Ever notice that your cat seems to have a natural instinct for being there when you need comfort most? Whether you are feeling down, worried about something, broken-hearted over a bad romance, or simply feeling sadness for any reason at all, they just seem to know!

It is a well documented fact that merely just petting a cat, stroking their fur while they lie next to you purring, naturally lowers ones blood pressure. Is it any wonder that cats are being used more and more as therapy animals ~ both at home and in nursing facilities? Cats have proven to be wonderful therapy for nursing home residents and children with autism as well.

I'd like to share with all of you a true story I had read while researching the subject of therapy cats:

Cats as Therapy in the Home

By Franny Syufy, About.com Guide

"Much has been written about the role cats play as sources of comfort in our daily lives. One of the most inspiring stories I have read was about a cat who helped a boy with autism. The author, J. Manerling, is a widowed father of two children. His son, Richard, was four years old when his mother died, and lives with autism. By a strange coincidence, J. Manerling already worked in the field of neuroscience, with children who have neuropsychological disabilities. At four, Richard had no mental retardation, but still was non-verbal. Reasoning that a therapy pet might help Richard come out of his shell, he made every effort to expose his son to every kind of animal. Nothing worked until the day J.M. took Richard to an animal shelter. In his words:

'I walked past the cat room into the dog area. Again, I was disappointed that my son just stared around him at everything else, but not at the dogs. They seemed to hold his attention for a few seconds.

As we were leaving, once again we walked past the cat area doors. I figured, "What the heck? It's worth a try. Though I have no idea what he'll find interesting in there." We walked into the cat area, which was significantly smaller than the dog area. As we walked past the cages, there in a corner was a black and white tuxedo cat. Suddenly my four-year old non-verbal son pointed to the cage and said, "Cat!" That was it. That day we took the cat home. My son could not come up with a name for his new friend. My daughter, who has always been very protective of her younger brother tried to help find a name that he could pronounce. Finally, the name Clover was discovered.'

At the time of its writing, Richard was a college student, and had two other cats, Linus and Melody as his muses. You can read more of Richard's story at Cat Therapy for Autistic Children."

Is it any surprise that cats are great therapy for nursing home patients? Some nursing homes are even fortunate enough to be able to keep a cat in residence. Cats have even been known to be used as therapy for patients with alzheimers disease. These cats serve to stimulate both memory and forgotten emotions.

The health benefits cats provide are just astounding. They lower your stress level, they slow down your heart rate whenever you are feeling anxious or nervous, they comfort us in so very many ways. Although dogs are generally known to be used as therapy for humankind, cats are also now coming into their own!


  1. The story of Richard is very moving. I tear up when I think of Seniors in homes, being visited by therapy dogs and cats. It is truly a gift from the Goddess.

  2. Cats and dogs are so precious! A gift they are, to be treasured!! A beautiful story Kim! Thanks for sharing ;o)

  3. Cats are great!


  4. Great post!!! We love this kind of stuff ;) We hope you don't mind but we put a link in Foxy's post to this. We thought is was such a wonderful story Foxy found another story to tell. It is at Foxymblog.blogspot.com.

    Alice and Foxy

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! We found you through Foxy's blog. :)