Therapy Cats

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I have followed Sparkle the Designer Cat for some time now and was so sad to hear that she was so very sick. I fear that as of this writing, she is no longer with us. She wrote a couple of posts in anticipation of this, including one introducing her “replacement” gift for her human, Summer.

love on a leash therapy catSparkle’s human had been looking for some time for a cat that could be a therapy cat. Now this intrigued me. Of course, I have heard of therapy dogs and I am involved in equine therapy. I have even thought about raising puppies for the blind but fear I would have such a hard time letting them go. But a therapy cat? Although it is no surprise to me that cats make wonderful therapy pets, I had never really thought about it. So, I did some research.

Research shows that felines can relieve stress and lower blood pressure, and studies have found that the hormone oxytocin is released when we’re around pets, triggering feelings of happiness.

What are the Requirements to become a Therapy Cat?

Right off the bat, I learned that my cats would not qualify as I feed them a raw diet. Somehow, the thing that is best for them is not good for the humans. A raw diet puts people — especially those with compromised immune systems — at a higher risk for infection. Hmm… I’m on chemotherapy. Should I not be making raw food for my cats? I know I am not supposed to be eating anything raw myself. A definite question for my oncology team!

Other than the diet requirement and a few age and time requirements, it all seems to boil down to the cat’s temperament. The cat needs to be laid back and friendly, non-aggressive, and comfortable with loud noises and unpredictable situations. The cat must walk on a leash. 

A variety of organizations give training and certify pet therapy teams both in person and online. Pet Partners and Love On A Leash are two of the largest, but some areas also have local organizations. 

So what do you think? Do you know a therapy cat? Do you have a cat that you think would do an awesome job? Tell us in the comments.

More info on therapy cats and getting therapy cats certified:

Cats As Therapy Animals? Here’s How To Get Your Feline Certified
How to Get Your Cat Certified as a Therapy Cat
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program • Frequently Asked Questions


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2 comments

  1. Meowllo. Me and me sisfur Lexi awe Service cats, but me is also certified as a Therapy kitty. And weez know lots of them, but weez nevew heard of the “No raw diet” fingy, nd lots of da kitties and doggies we know that awe Therapy animals eat a raw diet. Weez only found one awticle dat even mentioneed diet in ow search after readin’ yous posty. Weez not implyin’ yous wong, weez just not familiar wiff dat rule. Of course as Service animals weez only work fur mommy. But mommy wated me certified so weez kuld go into schools and such and help speak ’bout animals rights and worff to childwen in da hopes of teachin’ da nex genewaton of pet owners dat weez not fwo aways. Good luck.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

    • Ava says:

      Hi Dezi and Lexi. I couldn’t see on your website or your Facebook page where you all live. In the US at least, no raw diet is the #1 prerequisite on the list of one of the largest certifying agencies, Pet Partners. Here’s the link to the list: http://petpartners.org/team_prerequisites. I saw it mentioned on a couple of other sites as well. It was a disappointment to me.

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