Cat Therapy Explained

Cat therapy is a treatment aid that uses animal love and affection to treat and sometimes cure human patients. There are several benefits of using cat therapy for people of all age groups, since it's primarily a source of positive interaction for sick human beings.

Cat Therapy Training

Cats that are used for therapeutic purposes have to be well trained. Trainers create different situations and train cats to provide appropriate responses. Since therapy cats come across varying real life situations, it's important that pets are friendly and don't respond with negative emotions of fighting or escaping during patient interaction.

Cats Ideal for Therapy Training

All cats cannot be used as therapy cats. Pets that possess calm and tolerant personalities are best suited to the role. Therapy cats should remain calm in unfamiliar places and shouldn't turn aggressive if exposed to unexpected sounds, rough play or amidst strangers. The training process is gradual and involves exposure to people and objects such as a carrier or a harness. The two most preferred breeds for cat therapy are American shorthair and the Abyssinian breed. These two breeds exhibit good temperaments that are necessary in therapy cats.

Effects of Using Therapy Cats

Therapy cats help to relieve stress and depression. They are also very helpful to patients that are making slow recovery from illnesses. Cats that are cuddled or played with bring joy and brighten the lives of several patients, including the elderly. Studies reveal the beneficial effects of animals on sick people. Some studies show evidence that dog owners require less medical care for stress related pains in comparison to non-dog owners. It's important to remember that patients who dislike certain animals, or prefer other animals to cats, don't benefit from cat therapy.

Benefits of Cat Therapy

  • Provides emotional rapport between the pet and the patient
  • Serves as a source of entertainment
  • Patients feel accepted due to positive responses
  • Stimulates mental alertness and increases communication

Benefits Explained

Therapy cats are particularly useful to patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The positive interaction between the cat and the patient stimulates memory and emotions. Animal or pet therapy is also beneficial since animals are known to adapt to new or varying situations. Unconditional love and instant positive responses such as cat purring or cuddling evokes a state of well being in humans. Many patients that personally own dogs or cats tend to have longer lives, due to the need to care for their pets. This is especially true for cancer patients or people who are terminally ill, as the feeling of responsibility appears to lead to better survival rates.

Restrictions about Pet Therapy

Cats that are used for therapy have to be certified disease free. This is vital, as patients have weak immune systems and there shouldn't be a risk of contracting infection from cats. Obedience and tolerance is necessary, as cats that don't respond positively to petting or play upset the patients even more.

Although cat therapy focuses largely on helping patients in nursing homes, hospitals and medical facilities, pets in general are a source of distraction and entertainment to many owners and help reduce the amount of stress in people's daily lives.