Wednesday, December 19, 2012
This week we have been talking about cats being used in therapy. No, you don't lie down on a couch and tell them your life story. :>) But, those of you who are animal lovers, particularly cats, know what it's like to be stressed out or down and your cat rubs up against you or snuggles in your lap. As you run your hands through their fur or listen to them purr, you feel yourself relaxing a little. They're so warm, so soft, and so loving you unconditionally that you can't help but be comforted. Normally, dogs have been used as therapy animals, but cats are coming into their own and making their presence more known in this field. According to studies, the presence of an animal produces positive results in safety, self-esteem and in dealing with loneliness and depression. This makes a cat the ideal therapy animal for those in nursing homes. Therapy cats are also valuable when interacting with Alzheimer patients, by stimulating both memory and forgotten emotions. (They even help this senior with memory and emotions!)
One of my readers shared a website with me. The webmaster is Franny Syufy . She writes: cats seem to have an instinct to be there when we need comfort. Whether we are sick, worried about our work, blue over a broken romance, or mourning the loss of a dear friend or loved one, a cat will inevitably show up to share our angst. Feeling a furry body steal into your lap, then give loving licks on your hand or face, purring all the while, is one of the most comforting feelings imaginable. She also goes on to tell about how a cat helped a little boy who was autistic. Thinking that a therapy animal might help the boy come out of his shell, the father took him to an animal shelter one day. Here's what happened next.
"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."
You can read the rest of the story at http://cats.about.com/od/youandyourcat/a/Therapy-Cats.htm There are many more links and stories about other therapy cats as well. Very interesting reading.
I would like to wish all of you the best of this holiday season and pray that your New Year will be peaceful and prosperous! Our prayers go out to the residents of Newtown, Connecticut. We share your grief.