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

Responses: 90


Finally on Track

I've suffered from clinical depression and ADHD all my life. A year and a half ago I finally sobered up after a battle with drug abuse and stayed sober after intense treatment at hospitals, outpatient work, therapy, and medication. My life was a little more stable without the drugs but I still found it really hard to interact with people and get out of bed each day let alone stay organized and try to be even a little productive. I made the decision to get a cat and 4 months ago I brought home two little two-month old fluffballs: Genghis (an orange tabby) and Fidel (a tuxedo cat). They have been such a blessing. I finally feel like my life is becoming normal and all the bumps are starting to smooth themselves out. It started with knowing that no matter what I had to get up everyday and take care of them. Now I can't wait to get out of bed. They've done what no therapy could ever do. Whenever I feel down they come over looking for pets and to curl up beside me.
—Guest rays_of_inconsistency

I learned a lot from her

My wonderful sweet cat died last month. She had a very aggressive form of lymphoma and she died within two weeks of our finding out about her condition. I had her for 12-1/2 years. During that period of time I became disabled due to multiple disorders. She could tell when I was going to have a problem, she wouldn't let me take naps during the day (when I was depressed), she was there for me day and night, she gave unconditional love. I miss her so much. I have had cats before but none of them were like her. After she died, I realized she had been a therapy cat. I thought I could never get another cat because I hurt so much from losing her. We are picking up a kitten tomorrow, I realized I need a therapy cat.
—Guest Lynda

The healing power of cats

I've had three cats so far, and I currently have my second Siamese kitten. A year after I got my first Siamese, I became pregnant which was a very difficult time in my life. The baby's father did not want the baby, and I had to move back to my parents house since I had no where else to go. Not being able to work, being at my parents' house, and realizing that I was going to become a single mom, I felt completely alone and depressed. It may sound crazy, but my little angel and Isis(cat) were the only two that accompanied me through my nine months of loneliness. Every time I cried or felt depressed it seemed like she knew, and she would cuddled up with me or purr next to my belly. After my baby was born, she was very protective of him. Unfortunately, I left her with a horrible babysitter and she died. After two years I felt ready to have a kitten, but I will never forget how she was there through such a difficult period in my life, and I will always miss and love her for that.
—Guest Beatrice

Dog vs Cat

I work at a trauma center where we receive burn, spinal and stroke patients. We use dogs in rehabilitation department but I would be interested to see the benefits of cats. I understand the hospital rules, the cat would have to be declawed, any accidental scratches could be disastrous for some of our patients. There also a higher case of patients allergic to cats than dogs, which is unfortunate. I currently own two cats and have owned five in the past and believe their therapeutic advantages would be highly beneficial.

cat therapy

I was recovering from clinical depression. I would have bouts of depression on the road to recovery. A friend decided a pet, a kitten would help. He was named Corky. During my bouts of depression, I would isolate myself in my room, and only Corky was with me. In those depths of despair, Corky was my "unconditional love" therapy. I had him for 14 years and I still miss him, to the point of crying.

My Therapy Kitty, Caramel

I was in a very bad vehicle accident back in August of 2009. The only injuries suffered were 2 crushed tibias. Spent 1 month in hospital and another 3 in convalescent care. My mom picked up a free kitten for me as a therapy cat because I have also been very depressed due to the accident. Caramel is her name and she is the best. Even though she doesn't like to snuggle, she does like to be held first thing in the morning. My family calls her Psycho cause she does crazy things- like run around the house as if a big dog is chasing her, She loves to lay in boxes and even plays "fetch". She makes me laugh and smile and forget about my depression. I am so thankful that my mom got her for me. I love that kitten so much.

Theraputic/friendship benifit of my cat

I have a mental health challange also cronic severe pain/terminal illness, I rescued my Sunshine 10 years ago, and she has rescued me many times, she is so in tune and is allways there to protect/love/ nuture/heal and guide me along my journey in life, she also she is the worlds greatest teacher, very gentle but wise,Sunshine is so full of love,it makes my journey worthwhile in every way.
—Guest chris mufford

Stray Cats Can be Partners, Too

My little furry friend, Rascal, was a TNR stray cat when he adopted me one cold, wet morning. Having suffered from depression and bouts of severe loneliness since my wife's death ten years earlier, life had just about reached the point that waking up was a dreaded moment for me each morning. Then this little guy comes walking into my life and changed everything. I had often heard that shelter rescues were the best cats to get rather than a breeder's but had not really thought of getting a cat for my own much less a wild one. Rascal has brought so much happiness and love into my life that I cannot picture life without him. I just cannot understand why a wild, feral cat would decide that he wanted to be a house kitty but he did and my life changed completely that day. It is hard to imagine he's just a cat and not a human in a small fur coat. He is constantly amazing me with some new thing he has taught himself and seems to want to show me. Now life is fun again.
—Guest RascalsDad

My Best Friends

I have just read the wonderful tributes shared from others that are fortunate enough to be adopted by a furry friend!I have severe mental and physical obsticals. My husband died 5 yrs ago & I am left to care for our little family:Forrest Gump, chiauchua, Kitties:Squirt,Spot,Cocco-Piglette,Whinnie-Mae & Mr. Trouble. Our kids were Frankies constant companions,giving him unconditional love& constant attention.There were always 2 or more at his side 'till he left.Prior to needing hospice,I was injured at work,so our kids provided him excellant care. Now I am in need of their love and care,&they know their work here on earth isn't done.If it wasn't for them I probably would not cook, go outside or have any quality of life. My human friends,except for 2 have gone on with their lives,BUT my babies are my constant companions.An orphan found her way to our home,bringing youth & energy&enjoyment into our lives. My babies have brought love,honor, joy,respect & sunshine back into my life. Doris
—Guest Doris

therapy cat

There was a cat therapy cat article in a cat fancy magazine, I have mental and physical disabilities. My new landlord woud not allow pets, I got a doctor written perscription for the need of a therapy cat. I am happier. We got a second cat to be her copanion andthe joy of multiple cats is again in my life. Our two darlings are known as the space monkeys and this activeness isnt cat nip fueled. Emma rose is a special needs deaf cat, I often read how deaf cats theirselves (always only indoors) seem to have no disability and I agree
—Guest cat fat

Sympathic Cat

I adopted a long-haired white adult cat when I retired due to disabilities and major pain issues. Hut became my constant companion, never leaving my side. He seemed to know when my pain levels were high and it was such a comfort to have him suggle closer or give me kitty kisses. He keeps me from going into deep cycles of depression when I'm struggling with pain. Dealing with pain every day is not easy, but it something that is a reality for me. I have rhumatoid arthritis, ostoearthritis and fibromyalgia. Together they can make life very uncomfortable. My special kitty is what keeps me going. As I'm writing this he is sleeping on a chair right beside me. He's getting old and having some problems of his own, yet he is always there beside me whenever I need him.
—Guest Linda

my hell my cat

I had my cat my baby when I was a young teen he was my rock to me. I was going through some pretty rough times my parents split and my mum hit the bottle hard. I had no one to rely on except my beloved snowy, he always made me feel safe when I had no one else to turn to. I loved that cat so much, and ten years later I still think about him. I am so gratefull for having him in my life at that time and helping me through, I sometimes wonder if god sent him down from heaven to help me. HE was my angel at the time I needed him the most. I believe whole heartily that a cat can be used as therapy, especially to people like myself who cant express their feelings to human beings.
—Guest mand

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.

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