Cats are now being highly sought as part of a medical treatment, as therapy animals for a variety of reasons. Cat-love therapy has been used to help children with developmental disorders like autism, by helping them feel more comfortable with the world around them. Felines are know to be the perfect companion, for relieving loneliness, and are known to help with depression and certain phobias. People who suffer from depression often find solace in the companionship. It helps them ward off suicidal thoughts by having to care who will feed and love their pet. Cats work well with the elderly, especially when interacting with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia patients, by stimulating both memory and forgotten emotions. You can find therapy animals in retirement and nursing homes, schools, hospices, and other human service care facilities.
Part if the healing comes from the vibration of their purring. It actually has healing properties. Cats provide their own brand of unconditional love and comfort. When our feline friends run to greet us after a long day, it affects us physically. Many studies have shown that having a cat can calm nerves, lower blood pressure, help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic pain, strengthen the immune system and they even help you live longer.
Although the traditional route for therapy animals has been limited to dogs and horses, cats have been proven in numerous studies to help their owners heal. They also can improve our heart health and get us to exercise more. That’s why many hospitals and nursing homes today have programs that introduce dogs, cats, and other comfort animals. A furry friend can be just what the doctor ordered, providing positive results with no side effects. Cats have been known to perform miracles in the healing of their human charges. Cats are continually amazing researchers and medical professionals in the therapeutic processes, as we learn more and more about their impact on human lives and healing.
There is a slight difference between a regular cat and a therapy cat. Most have been trained to help ailing humans in a medically beneficial way. They have been raised in a loving hime and need their human as much as their human needs them.
The single most important characteristic of a therapy cat is temperament. A good therapy cat is friendly, patient, confident, gentle at all times, and at ease in any situation. Therapy cats must also enjoy contact with adults, children, and be content with being petted and sometimes handled clumsily. They must be calm and tolerant of all kinds of people, as well as other animals. Noise must not scare them as medical equipment, and unfamiliar noises abound in the hospital or home environment.
The first step in preparing a cat to be a therapy animal is to make sure the feline meets basic requirements.
Must be comfortable in a harness and up to date with shots. Pet Partners can certify your pet and is one of the most well-known national organizations that facilitates and promotes animal-assisted therapy. They also offer training and registration for therapy animal teams. They have been training volunteers across the country since 1990.