However, certified therapy cats are relatively rare. While we have nothing against dogs, we believe in purr power is an underutilized resource.
TheCatSite.com notes that cats are less likely to knock over large medical equipment. However, they require careful training before starting this new unique career. The CatSite offers some tips for assessing your cat’s potential to be a therapy pet. The Delta Society and Love on a Leash are also valuable resources for aspiring therapy cats.
I would simply like to point out a few stories of people who have been helped by therapy cats. From SnikSnak.com, I learned about Marie, a senior citizen with no friends or family — until Handsome came along. This is how one little Persian cat helped a lonely, depressed old woman:
“She remained curled in a fetal position with no interest in living. She had sores on her legs from constant scratching. After Handsome became Marie’s roommate, whenever she tried to scratch herself, he would play with her hands or otherwise distract her. Within a month the sores had healed. But even more incredible, she was so fascinated with the cat that she asked the staff about his care. Before long, she was inviting other residents to come visit with her pet.”
“I’ve suffered from clinical depression and ADHD all my life. A year and a half ago I finally sobered up after a battle with drug abuse and stayed sober after intense treatment at hospitals, outpatient work, therapy, and medication. My life was a little more stable without the drugs but I still found it really hard to interact with people and get out of bed each day let alone stay organized and try to be even a little productive. I made the decision to get a cat and 4 months ago I brought home two little two-month old fluffballs: Genghis (an orange tabby) and Fidel (a tuxedo cat). They have been such a blessing. I finally feel like my life is becoming normal and all the bumps are starting to smooth themselves out. It started with knowing that no matter what I had to get up everyday and take care of them. Now I can’t wait to get out of bed. They’ve done what no therapy could ever do. Whenever I feel down they come over looking for pets and to curl up beside me”
Lastly, I want to pay tribute to the many times, Bubba and his late brother, Pudpat, got me through some sad times. Bubba is still a touchstone, doing his best to help me through the past year-and-a-half. I can never repay him — simply cherish him more with each day.