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

Responses: 68

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Cats are slowly moving into their own as therapy animals, and are being used more and more in convalescent homes and other institutions for that purpose. The associated article tells the story of a miracle a cat brought to an autistic child. Readers may contribute here with personal stories about their own experience with cats as therapy for autism or other medical conditions. NOTE: Questions or responses to others will not be published. Think of this as your own mini-article. Share Your Experience

My cat is a blessing

I have Parkinson's disease when ever I start to tremor he will put his leg on my arm so it will stop.
—Guest Nicole

twoshoes4u

I had a cat for 17 years. He favored my husband. He sat with him and slep in his bed. Two weeks before my husband died the cat started sleeping with me and avoiding my husband. They were constant companions before and I think the cat knew what was about to happen.
—Guest twoshoes4u

my cat is a angel

i have sleep apnea, and when i stop breathing at night my cat wakes me up.
—Guest Kim

Cat predicts epileptic episodes

My daughter has epilepsy and one of our cats, Tilly (we have four) sleeps with her each night. She NEVER fails to go to her room when my daughter goes to bed. A few times over the years Tilly has come into my room in the middle of the night howling. This cat NEVER comes into my room. On both occasions my daughter was having seizures in her sleep. Now my daughter's medication controls her seizures, but the cat still remains "on alert" each night on her bed. She sits on her pillow each night, staring at her person. This cat sleeps all day long because she is awake all night keeping watch. It is unbelievable. I sometimes go to bed very late and check on my daughter at 1 or 2am and the scene is always the same: my daughter asleep and the cat watching her while sitting on her pillow. It's amazing.
—ruralpa

My furry companions

I've had 5 cats in my life - Dusty, Misty, Snowball, and now Ellie and Chubbs. I love animals in general (my best friend as a kid was a dog named Sadie), but cats are something completely different. I deal with mental health issues that interfere with me being able to function in daily life - depression being one of the worst - and my kitties are the best distraction I have. They're not cuddlers, but I'm okay with that because I'm not a very touchy-feely person. They are affectionate and loving, and make me laugh frequently. I will always be grateful for my kitties - no matter how weird you are, they'll still love you.
—Guest NobodysAingyl

My son's success with a cat!

Our local paper did a great article on my Asperger son's relationship with his cat!
—Guest Karen

Feline Deprivation Syndrome (FDS) Relief

Tippy a young maile white medium longhaired cat, appeared out of the blue last week as I was complaining about my FDS, caused by the absence of cats from my life. No sooner had I said this to my superbly prescient friend, Diana, a fellow, Ailourophile, a handsome male white cat with head and ear marking remarkably similar to those of my dog Tippy appeared. He climbed into my lap, making himself immediately at home. Tippy was a Christmas gift 74 years ago, when I was five. 'mmmmmmm', Tippy just added with a walk across this keyboard.
—Guest Robert

My little therapy cutie.

My part Burmese cat is nine years old now. I have crohn's disease and have been in hospital for numerous reasons over the years. From surgeries, severe infections, Tube feeding in hospital outside of hospital for five yrs straight. I had a blood clot due to feeding tubes. Suffered with kidney stones three years in a row. She is my little bed buddy recuperating from some or one of those illnesses. She seems to know when not well, and sticks by my side. I look forward to seeing her when I get home from one of my hospital visits and she perks up when she sees me. I have been told she sleeps more often and gets rather depressed when I'm not home for her. Very rarely I leave her for any period of time cause I know what this does to her. So all the times she's comforted me I stay home unless have no choice to comfort her. She's a senior soon and I want to spend as much time with her as much as I can. She's a little character at times and makes me laugh. She's one special furball, and mine for sure.
—Guest Teresa

Our Therapy Cat

My husband literally dropped dead in front of myself and my two sons 4 years ago. We buried him the Saturday before Father's Day. A year later ON Father's Day our therapy Kitty- JeT came into our lives. JeT has helped heal the part of our hearts that were torn out that day. He treats each of us differently, he seems to know when we each need extra loving. I believe he has helped all of us even more than counseling and anti-depressants. I'm not saying to quit your meds and get a cat, but a feline companion can be a great addition for good mental health.
—Guest Marenii

Joy

I've experienced some cat therapy too. Before I had my cats, I've never wanted animals in the house. But one fine day my younger son brought a tiny white kitten which I loved from the moment I saw it. I became obsessed about the cat and was always afraid that something terrible would happen to her and lose her. When she was old enough to mate she had 6 kittens. I can confess that since I've had the cats in my house, I am a happier person. They are such a good therapy for me. They helped me get through the most difficult times in my life and help me relax from the daily stressful life. I cannot live without them now. I consider them as part of the family. They brought me so much joy in my life.
—Guest Bernadette

I call him my little angel.

One of my male cats, Rescue, is my little angel. One example is after a medical infusion that I get at home every three weeks, he makes sure I get to bed as soon after the treatment as possible. If I am sitting up after it is over, he keeps rubbing up against me, walking around me like "Mommy, you need to go and lie down." Because of possible side effects of overdoing it, I am in the bed most of the weekend. Rescue makes sure he is in bed with me, sometimes joined by his brother Recover and "birth" mother FussPot.
—Guest Pam

Our cats are therapy cats, too

My husband and I both suffer from severe depression. I also have severe pain. Sometimes no medication will touch my pain, but if I spend time petting our kitties and listening to their purrs, my mood lifts and my pain becomes more bearable.
—OzarksUSA

My Oliver

My 15-year-old crippled kitty is my WonderCat. He wuld not leave me alone 2 years while going thru chemotherapy &, thank goodness, he'll be there again for me when I go start the chemo again in 1 week. I also take him to the nursing home where my former mom-in-law lives. She has advanced Alzheimer's & doesn't speak any more, but she loves to cuddle with him. And he knows there's something different - he never even makes a move off her bed. The sight of a cat walking on a leash brings out the best in all the patients at the home. I'm so thankful for my furry friend, Oliver!
—RebeccaEvans

sisambergris

my cat nicky was prescribed for my depression and loneliness. Not a MEDICAL reason but a good one. my mom just died and nicky sometimes is the best reason I have to keep trying.
—Guest annette spence

Amazing Grace

No matter where you live, be it in the States, in Europe, or in good ol' SA, pets are fantastic, and Cats are my favourite. I rescued two awesome Siamese adult cats in just over a year ago and these two cats, Suzie Q and Chang, became my world. Unfortunately the strapping male (and dominant one of the two) became very ill, and despite repeated trips to the vet and rounds of every type of treatment imaginable, we had to let our boy go. Since then, the docile female, Suzie Q, has become a constant companion. She is at my side all the time. She has helped me weather the worst depressions, and thwarted the pangs of loneliness with her warmth and love. She talks to me ALL the time and altho I don't talk 'Cat' I believe we well and truly do understand each other. Every night Suzie Q slips into bed with me, and snuggles right up under my arm against my chest. I think she knows that is my pain place.... where my heart aches when I think of things that make my heart ache, and of Chang.
—Gheckogoblin

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