Therapy Cats: Huggable, Loveable, and At Your Service

Therapy animals aren’t just dogs. There are other types. Therapy cats, for instance.

It’s National Hug Your Cat Day, I’m told. Sometimes known as Squeeze Your Kitty Til It Runs Away. (Or is that just me?)

One reason to show your appreciation? Their helpfulness to humans who have stress and anxiety, depression, and other mental/emotional issues.

Sometimes they’re even trained as service cats, otherwise known as therapy cats or angel cats. (Felines helpin’ our feelins’.)

Nova Ferrington on the therapeutic benefits of cat love: “Studies have shown that simply petting a cat that is purring can cause the human body to relax. The muscles lose their tenseness, breathing becomes slower and more regular and blood pressure that is raised will drop significantly while petting a cat.”

According to U.S. Service Animals, the following five traits help make cats great therapy pets:

  1. Cats enjoy physical contact.
  2. Cats become emotionally attached.
  3. Cats can sense negative emotions.
  4. Cats can communicate well.
  5. Cats are low-maintenance.

How can cat therapy be provided? “Mental health experts have begun using cats as therapeutic aides in hospitals for the mentally ill. A high rate of patients that were placed on a sofa or chair with a calm cat in their lap, became calm themselves. Patients suffering from severe depression stated that they felt more calm after spending time with a therapy cat. They also tended to recover more quickly then those not using the benefits of a therapy cat. Cat ownership also tends to reduce stress levels simply because the owner feels a responsibility for caring for their cat, thus putting their own feelings on the back burner, so to speak, in order to provide for the cat’s physical needs.”

Website Catalogical offers advice regarding having a therapy cat or helping others in “How To Get One, Train Yours To Be Certified, And More.”

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