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Readers Respond: Do you have personal experience with a cat as therapy?

Responses: 68

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Lucy My Furperson

I have a very severe form of anxiety, so bad that at one point I was having seizures. I disconnected myself from family and friends. Social situations were horrifying to me. My mother gave me Lucy when she was a kitten. Having something to love and care for helped me to reach a point where I would slowly go into social situations. Lucy is now 6 months old, and I am attending college in two days. I will always love her
—Guest TheBigUnfurryCat

Healing cat

I took in a sealpoint Siamese who'd been dumped by her former owner. Jackie was very mild temperament, but a lion when it came to 'her clan'. She kept watch over my daughter as an infant. Even chased a friend out of the nursery when he peeked in w/o one of the family at his side. He was not a very regular visitor. She was always singling out anyone in the house that was depressed or physically ill. She only took timeaway from the person for the litterbox and a fast bite to eat. My husband came home sick, was in the bathroom throwing up. She kept by his side, a look of extreme distress and concern.. I'd say she had too much empathy- finally she started puking right along with him! She was always a Healer, stuck with those that were hurting. There were several times she was joined at the hip to the one in need. I lost her to renal failure at age 19. I miss my Sealpoint Lady!
—Guest SiaKeeper

My cat and my battle with dysautonomia.

My name's Sophie, I'm 23 & since I was 16 I've had a chronic illness called dysautonomia. Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Basically everything your body normally does (controls heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, temperature & so on) mine struggles to do. This gives me symptoms like fainting, migraines, joint pain, dizzy spells, stomach issues, chest pain & things like that. Since I've been sick my beautiful ex-SPCA tortoiseshell cat Misty has been a huge support to me. She's been with me every step of the way. When I faint she waits for me to wake up, when I have a migraine she sits beside my head & when I cry she purrs beside me to cheer me up. Misty also walks up & down stairs to my bedroom multiple times a night (despite her spinal arthritis) to make sure I'm okay. She has disabilities herself and her strength has inspired me in my own battles. She has taught me so much-I truly don't think I would be here today without her love and support.
—SophieSophieSophs

The Love of Three

I am a severe diabetic and I have neuropathy in my feet and nerve damage in my back from a work accident. I am owned by Little Miss Puss Puss, Stinky Binky and Max. Puss is a gingham calico with an angel imprinted in her fur on her back, Binky is a white tom with pink ears, pink nose and blue eyes and Max is a Bengal. In 2008, my husband and I split up after near 20 years. When I left I had only Puss. Then my niece and my ex found Binky. He was severely malnourished and covered in fleas when my niece brought him home to me. My landlords daughter gave me Max shortly after I moved back to Wisconsin. Puss and Binky rode 800 miles from Tennessee to Wisconsin in May. I suffer from severe depression and my babies know when mom is not feeling well. Puss will climb on my left shoulder and cuddle my neck.Binky and Max try to make laugh. My doctor suggested counseling but I have the best therapists money can't buy!!
—Guest budwill

My Tika as a furry 'Therapist'

I suffer from chronic pain and major depression. Many times, Tika has been more than a friend to me. She listens with her heart. My roommate, who has schizophrenia, has even allowed her to be his friend. Cats don't need a degree in social work to be a helper.
—KimkellyK

My Cat is God's masterpiece

Being disabled w/ chronic pain & depression, my Dr. suggested I consider checking into a hosp. I was incredulous. I said I am at home, w my therapist, my cat at my side 24/7, who has more intuition to my pain, physical or mental than I do. She senses when I need her most & when I'm holding my own. We talk a lot (& she loves me to sing to her, which is good therapy for me.) Her intuition is uncanny and beyond human comparison. She understands just what I need at the moment, whether it's sitting in her chair next to my computer chair when I'm at my PC; or cuddling with me on my couch - she KNOWS! She is what I believe God wants humans to strive to be; non-judgmental, loving all unconditionally; mellow; assess others needs and act accordingly; show kindness & understanding; be there even if uou don't understand; forgive always & quickly. She has no issues & is perpetually content. She's a role model of living a life of unconditional love, & my role model. She's God's masterpiece.
—slowhandfan

Autism, Disability, and animals

My youngest daughter has autism. After she finally got the hang of reading she didn't like reading out loud to people until she had it perfected so she read to her rabbit for hours. Any time we would get close she would stop reading and when we walked away the reading would stop. All animals seem to know she's different and animals that aren't affectionate to others will allow her to pet them. I am disabled and our two dogs and four cats know when I am having a bad day. There is no way I could lie to my kids because the animals would tell on me. They surround me on the bed so there is no way I can get over the bodies to get up if I wanted to. The follow me into the bathroom or downstairs. I am never allowed to be without someone watching over me. While we are looking for a place to live there is no way we could ever leave them behind. They are there for all of us when we feel bad only expecting love in return. I have two of them on my bed with me now! At least my feet are warm!
—Guest BackupZeus

They just know, don't they?

Cats and dogs just know when we are not well, or when we are depressed. If I am feeling ill, my Sally sniffs my breath, and camps out at the foot of the bed. When my folks passed away a couple years ago Sally knew something was 'not right' with me, and stayed closeby. She knows me very well (had her for almost 14 years). She keeps my BP low, I'm certain. My touchstone, my lucky charm.
—GeorgeReese

Cat's truly are a blessing

I have a 4 1/2 year old boy with Austism Spectrum disorder, he was diagnosed at age 3 1/2. He had no communication, no sentences, he had some words but not many, i was beside myself trying to figure out my son since he was on a waiting list to get tested. My best friends girlfriend at the time had a litter of kittens, i was hesitent cause my son terrorized my parents cats by chasing them and hitting them, but i figure lets try it. We brought the cat home, we named him hobbes it was easy for my son to pronounce, and it was like a light switch turned on my son would talk to the cat all day long. We have had hobbes almost 2 years now and that cat is a guardian angel he means the world to our family, he brought my son out of the darkness of autism i believe and back into the real world of reality.
—Guest Crystal

Therapy cat Baby, I call him Doc.

I have neuropathy nerve disease in my left leg and when i go to bed it often acts up very painfully. Then i call my cat "DOC" and he comes every time and lays on my leg and purrs and massages with his paws and the pain eases up and soon is gone. His warmth feels good too. He stays until i rise in the morning. He is 14. Dariel
—Guest sheenyc

my therapy cat

i have a cat that is most definately a therapy cat. he snuggles with me when i am down and is so loving, more so than any male could be. he loves unconditionaly and with all his kind little heart. the poor angel suffers from diabetes aand has two indure two shots of insulin daily , but the love he gives to me never waivers. he is the best cat in the world and helps me get through all my times of crisis.
—Guest mscatchic

My kitty whitties

I adopted my friend's two cats when she had to move. I became so attached them that I could not give them up when I had to move. I thought I would rather live on the street then give them away. I have severe depression and at times had thought about suicide. The one thing that saved me was my cats. I thought if I am gone who will take care of them. I also have ADD and mood disorder so I do not have many friends due to my lack of social skills. I feel like my cats were the only ones who accepted me for who I was. Last year one of them died and I was crushed. I could not go to work the next day because I was crying all night. I still have the other one left. I told my boyfriend that the cat comes first because I had him first. I swear that my cat has saved my life many times from severe depression and I will always be grateful.
—apemay

Long Live the Cat!

I have High-Functioning Autism, and although I generally communicate quite well, I lacked patience and would easily become frustrated and succumb to meltdowns fairly often. But since adopting my first cat about 10 years ago my household has never been cat-less. I currently have two sweet females who are the loves of my life. They are like the children I don't have. Since sharing my home with cats I have become more patient and understanding not only towards animals but people as well. I have had fewer and fewer meltdowns over the years, until now I am calm almost 100% of the time. I know I can always look to my kitty-babies for love and affection when I am feeling out of sorts. I hope to live with cats for the rest of my life.
—Cristy13

Along came chatty cat

Many readers may be unfamiliar with the autism spectrum. Autism has degrees of severity. At the one end is the person who has autism with co-morbid mental retardation. This person usually has poor self-help skills and needs assistance in the most basic things such as preparing a meal. At the other end there is the "high functioning" person who has average to above average intelligence. This person goes to school, can get a degree, marry, raise a family, and have a career. Pure autism is a communiction disorder in the brain. Contrary to what one may suspect, people with higher levels of intelligence, but are on the autistic spectrum suffer more. They need some living being to connect with who understands them and who serves as a mentor on communication. Cats provide that kind of mentoring, because they are patient. They also use body language that the person must learn to translate into words and ideas. This responds to the very area where people with Asperger struggle.
—jmanerling

Cats are like mirrors

Some say that cats only come around people when they are hungry, and for some that is true: if one doesn't pay any attention to their cat, and never chats or plays or communicate with them in any way, then that's what cats will do! In my exprerience, cats adapt to perfection to what they are given by their human companions and won't ask for affection where they know they won't get any! And of course, just like people, cats have very difficult personalities. My cats are to me a great family, I enjoy having a shared moment with them every day. Whenever I am down, seriously down, or ill, they all curl around me, and look at my face now and then, trying to guess what my mood is like. What great conforting! Dogs are great too, but cat are less demanding, and just as affectionate and playful. I am glad to be here for them, just as they are here for me! Adult and elderly cats are great companions...
—Guest Neyma

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