Therapy is Going to the Cats
Often, when people think of therapy animals, they think dogs, but did you know there are currently 193 cats registered with the Delta Society as therapy animals? It can be more difficult for cats to become certified as therapy pets due to aversion to travel or being on a leash, but there are cats that do make it through the certification program successfully.
There are many programs around the country that are including cats as therapy pets. Some of the criteria to be accepted are: being indifferent to wheelchairs, comfortable with strangers and staying focused despite noise. Once certified, therapy cats may visit hospitals, senior citizen care centers, and outpatient centers of children’s hospitals.
Therapy cats have a calm, non-judgmental demeanor that makes them a good fit for in-patient psychiatric units. Patients in these units are on medication and in regular therapy to help manage their illnesses, but they can sometimes become combative or disruptive, so a therapy cat’s calm demeanor can have a good effect.
Cats also provide a calm, comforting presence to terminally ill patients. A book called Making Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa documents how Oscar comforted many terminally ill patients in their final hours.
Therapy animals provide a wide variety of services to those in need. There are many great dogs serving as therapy animals, but with their calm, loving demeanor cats can be good therapy pets too!