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

Responses: 68

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My cat Minggay

My husband passed away so suddenly in March of this year. We never had any kids nor pets. A lot of my friends suggested that I should adopt a pet, a dog or a cat maybe so I have company. Never in my life have any experience having a pet so I thought a will give it a try. So I went to a Kitty Cottage shelter in Sept and my life was never the same again when I saw her. She's almost 3 yrs old now and I renamed her Minggay. She's a Tabby/Calico with yellow eyes. After I got ill in October and was hospitalized for 5 days, I missed her so terribly that from then on, she sleeps in my bed and became my alarm clock in the morning. Lately, I was hospitalized again for a major surgery and once again, Minggay is always there for me. She's so well-behave that I don't have problems with her destroying my home decors. She loves to be hug and she loves to play and run around the house with her catnips. She's such a blessing and a great friend to me.
—Guest daiwiesel@hotmail.com

I'm convinced Tika is a furry therapist!

Tika has been a comfort to me in good times and in hard times. Her soft fur and friendly nature are perfect for when I feel under the weather. She gives her friendship to everyone she's come to know.
—Kim_KinAbseconNJ

My own experience with autism

As far as I know (this has never been officially diagnosed, but I am confident it is the case...!) I suffer from "Asperger's Syndrome," which is a form of autism! As well, I have been owned by at least one cat since 1973, when I first left my family home! I find that cats mirror my own personality...and are thus MUCH easier to relate to than dogs (whose deference to their "owners" can be easily explained by the concept of "Dominance Hierarchy!"). Currently, I am "owned" by Ecru (the ecru cat), who was an "only kitten" of "Mama Cat," a feral dilute tortoise-shell who took up residence at my abode (to my delight!) a year or two after I moved in! Essentially, I CANNOT comprehend my fellow humans...however, I CAN comprehend my resident cat(s)! Ecru is my own personal "therapy" for my clinical depression! Steven C. Barr stevenc@interlinks.net
—Guest Steven C. Barr

Along came a chatty Cat

My daughter is also living with Autism. She has Asperger's Syndrome which is considered a less severe form of Autism. She struggled with emotional attachments, and understanding that others had feelings and responded to her displays of emotion. Then we adopted a Calico cat with a touch of Siamese in her bent tail. We named her Mystique and she bonded with my daughter. Mystique talks and rowels, purrs and cuddles with my daughter. And she puts up with being held, snuggled, being stuffed into the front of a sweat shirt and sleeping at the foot of the bed. But she also listens and responds to My girl's long involved conversations. I often get the feeling that Mystique understands English, in particular English as filtered through an Asperger's mind. My daughter has learned empathy as well as learning to express affection in cat acceptable ways. Mystique is a miracle cat, she is also an art critic. When Mystique likes a drawing she lets you know.
—DameNickum

self harm

I have bipolar disorder that at times makes me suicidal. My cats know when this is happening and physically set out to remind me that that they love me by rubbing against me and meowing very loudly. This is enough to make me think about what is best for me at the time. I may still be admitted to the hospital but at least I know my furry feline "kids" will be there waiting when I return home. They don't judge. They just love me and isn't that the point?
—Guest kfrost30

Excellent article

I suffered with panic and anxiety attacks as well as depression near the end of 2006. I was in therapy for months and took medication. I decided to adopt a kitten one day to have another little life around so I wouldn't feel so alone. Vlad came into my life about a week before my 40th birthday in 2007. I immediately felt I had a purpose, taking care of my kitten. About a month later I adopted a companion for him and added another wonderful little life. Having them proved a wonderful distraction to my problems. So much so I feel I can handle my life a little better and no longer have anxiety attacks. Coming home to my family of 5 cats now is the highlight of my day. I come home and I can talk to them and tell them my troubles and they patiently listen. Cats are wonderful therapists and most of all, great friends. I wish more people would give them a chance. That myth of being solitary creatures is just that, a myth.
—Guest Nuria

Cat's the Best Therapist

I like cats because they accept you as you are, make few (and generally predictable) demands, can be generous with love, protective and possessive. I never have to explain myself like with humans, and they never tell me I'm socially inept, or to "get over it already".
—Guest Raine

cats in therapy

Thank you for the article - it reminded me of when I was in therapy myself. There were things that I found very difficult to discuss with my therapist. One day her cat joined us, and she wanted to put him out. I begged to have him stay. With my attention divided between the cat asleep on my lap and my therapist's questions, we managed to cover new ground. Soon both her cats would join us when it was time for my sessions. There is no doubt in my mind of their beneficial presence during difficult sessions. My therapist might feel differently, seeing that I often used the 'distraction' to avoid answering questions I had not yet felt ready to answer. Years later I picked up a stray cat, and not ever having had a cat before, the 'therapy cats', as I call them, greatly eased the way for this stray into my life. From a very uncertain start, he has grown into a big tom, currently asleep on my lap.
—Guest pardoes

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