We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making a Difference: 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. Truly believe this! Animals have that built in instinct. Humans have it too, sadly most choose to ignore....


  2. Our cats seems to have missed that part of the "How to take care of your human" book. Yesterday I was lying on the sofa, feeling really miserable and coughing my lungs out - and the Kitty, on her soft chair, only threw annoyed glances in my direction every time I coughed. ^^

  3. so true ! I love cats (well animals in general but especially cats) and they not only make a house a home but provide company and comfort....have to admit I'm always suspicious of those folk who don't like cats or animals ....
    have a nice weekend..Gail x

  4. I totally believe in the healing and calming power of animals. Saw it time and again in my own life. If not for the fact that my two youngest children (who have autism and would benefit so much from the experience) are deathly allergic we'd have a house full of critters.

    Mostly dogs and rodents due to my own allergies, but even with them I enjoy the company of a good cat. :o)