Studies continue to show that regular interaction with a friendly animal can have lasting health benefits. Visiting patients used to be a privilege reserved for dogs. However, in recent years, therapy cats have also been given the chance to help in the healing process.
What are therapy animals?
Essentially, animal assisted therapy involves bringing a therapy pet to a hospital, nursing home, classroom, or other facility in order to relieve anxiety. Therapy animals are usually certified cats or dogs, but other species such as birds and horses can also be certified. Therapy animals are different from emotional support or service animals because they are not permitted special accesses.
Are there pet therapy organizations in New York City?
The North Shore Animal league offers the Shelter Pet Outreach Team (SPOT) brings puppies and certified cats from their shelters to nursing homes, senior centers, and rehabilitation centers. However, the ASPCA is a community partner of Pet Partners, which is the nation’s largest nonprofit that helps train and match therapy pet teams across the country.
Would you and your cat make a good therapy pet team?
If your cat adores and can’t get enough of people, he or she might have what it takes. However, therapy cats should also be comfortable with going outside, loud noises, other animals, and being handled — even if it’s by someone who doesn’t have the best coordination or strength. Furthermore, you would also be a part of the pet therapy team. You would have to demonstrate the ability to give your cat effective commands as well as read when your cat is stressed or fatigued.
At the end of the day, therapy cats provide those in need with an opportunity to make a loving connection and build a relationship with another living creature.
Does your cat have a lot of love to give? Call to ask about how boarding your kitty in our sitters’ homes so that they receive around the clock affection while you’re out of town.
Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.
photo by lovinkat on flickr