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The Feline-Human Bond of Love

Therapy Cats Give Love Freely


Bubba and Lance

Bubba and Lance share a moment of togetherness.

Franny Syufy

It has become fairly common knowledge that cats are great therapy for nursing home residents, and it is a joy to see eyes light up when a cat is brought in by a visitor. Even more fortunate are those patients of health care facilitieswho have a cat in residence. Try petting your kitty when you are stressed from the activities of an unusually busy day. You'll find those tense shoulder and neck muscles relaxing, your heart rate slowing, and an intense feeling of pleasure flowing through your entire body, as all those stresses flow out and relaxation flows in. Those are the benefits of therapy cats to nursing home residents and health care facilities, and they can be equally applied to the rest of us. Therapy cats are especially valuable when interacting with Alzheimer patients, by stimulating both memory and forgotten pleasant emotions.

Although dogs have more traditionally been recruited as therapy animals, cats are being used more and more. After all, the advantage of being able to purr, is of huge value, and seeing eyes light up as wrinkled hands stroke a wildly vibrating furry body is a convincing argument for cats in this role. Cats chosen for therapy must meet certain criteria. They should be of a "laid-back" temperament, and tolerant of new circumstances. It goes without saying that they should be current on shots, and either have their claws trimmed or plastic caps such as Soft Claws attached.

Men Can be"Cat Dads" Too

I can't write about men and their cats without mentioning my late husband Asa. Indeed, he was the catalyst that solidified my admiration for cats into a lifelong love affair with the furry critters. Asa was fortunate to have been born to a mother and father who loved cats, and when we first met as high school sweethearts, he told me without embarrassment that he had been raised by a cat - the first Tinker, who had ruled his parents' house for over 15 years. The second Tinker held sway over our own household for 17 years, and I have three adult children who can make the same claim of having been "raised by a cat." I firmly believe that teaching children love and respect for cats and other animals is critical to the future of our planet, as those children will be tomorrow's guardians of the welfare of the creatures that inhabit this world. I'm proud to say that all three of my children have grown up to be responsible caregivers to their cats, with deep respect for the world of animals at large, and the example their Dad set was largely responsible for these traits. One might reasonably say that ailurophilia is hereditary, at least in our case.

Nowadays, the king of our household is Jaspurr, and the bond between him and my son, Lance, primary caregiver for our cats, is a beautiful example to behold.

The About Cats Forum holds many examples of caring cat dads. Some of these men extend their love for cats by actively engaging in feral rescue, working as "foster parents" for rescue groups and/or veterinary clinics with rescue operations. They share their successes and sometimes failures with other members, just the same as our female rescue workers. Gender is not really an issue here, and these men have amply proven that Real Men Love Cats.

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