FCVC likes to highlight the role of the pets in unusual and extraordinary circumstances.
Therapy cats for anxiety?
Cats, which are often thought of as being too aloof and independent to be trainable, are finding their way more and more into service for reducing human anxiety as therapy cats.
Celebrating National Cat Day
Because it is National Cat Day, we bring you the stories below to showcase that many cats are being trained in this capacity. And more are needed.
Cats As Therapy Animals
Cats can go beyond just being favorite pets. Just like dogs, which are well known as service, therapy or emotional-support animals, cats can provide animal assistance to humans, too. Human response of stress and anxiety reduction to petting dogs and cats is catching on in many public places. One of the prime training grounds for all kinds of therapy animals is Pet Partners.
Pet Partners and the Therapy Animal Program
Pet Partners was founded in 1977, as the Delta Society. For more than 40 years our organization has been leading the way, connecting people with the healing power of animals. Today, the benefits of the human-animal bond have never been more apparent. Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program represents the very best that the field of animal-assisted interventions has to offer. 10,000+ volunteers and their pets in the Therapy Animal Program touch a variety of clients in the Unites States and around the world, including veterans with PTSD, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students with literacy challenges, patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, and those approaching end of life.
One of the best things about Pet Partners is while dogs make up 94% of the teams in their Therapy Animal Program, they also welcome friendly, well-behaved cats, horses, birds, pigs, llamas & alpacas, rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs!
200 Registered Therapy Cats – Demand Outstrips Supply
Demand for therapy animals in clinics and workplaces — and even college campuses at exam time — sometimes outstrips supply, according to Pet Partners, the nation’s largest registry of therapy animals. The organization, based in Bellevue, Washington, has a database of 13,000 animals that make a collective three million visits a year. While 94 percent of the animals are dogs, the roster includes 200 cats and 20 llamas, says C. Annie Peters, the group’s president and chief executive.
Flying Ace Kitty? (Not Exactly)
One of the more recognized ways that therapy cats are being used is at airports. Since 2017, our local airport, Denver International has had a Canine Airport Therapy Squad that, like its acronym of CATS, includes a cat by the name of Xeli, and the Petco Foundation has designated her as a Helping Hero. DIA’s crew of CATS volunteers allows them to schedule, on average, three CATS visits per day. Each pet and owner team circulates through the airport for about two hours per visit, so keep your eyes open and your arms ready to give a big hug to one of our furry volunteers!
Calgary International Airport in Canada has a therapy cat, Lizzie, as well. This CTV news segment features this furry feline, perfect for National Cat Day:
If you would like to read one more article about a therapy cat for anxiety, who was feral, but now is sweet, calm and an attention-getter – you can read about Sooshi here.
FCVC hopes you enjoyed this tribute to cats on National Cat Day. Please share with us if you have a trained therapy cats on our Facebook page with #fcvctherapycat. We would love to showcase your special cat friend.