Cat/Dog Therapy

You read a lot about dogs being used in all types of therapy. Last summer I was at a convention for people with mental illnesses and saw people with psychiatric dogs for the first time. At home, I discovered a friend’s son had one, and many of us are familiar with therapeutic dogs in hospitals and nursing homes. Since I’m a cat lover, I thought why not cats?

            I checked around and discovered there are few organizations that train cats for hospitals or individual use because they are less predictable than their canine buddies. So rather than a “professional” cat for my own, I thought I’d go to the pound and find one with a lovable personality that would be content to sit in my lap and be petted until we’ve both had our fill. That was my intention, but as with most things, they don’t work out exactly as planned.

            We already had a cat, Sidney. He is a scaredy-cat and only mildly affectionate. I wanted a ball of fur that would be my baby. So last week we picked up a second cat, Tovah. She is especially friendly, but Sidney wants no competition, and after letting her know, they’ve formed an “I Hate You Society” with hissing, spitting, and on-and-off fighting. My vet says that things will eventually settle down, but in the meantime my household is in a state of war. If I had 20/20 hindsight, I wouldn’t have subjected any of us to this. Poor Tovah has already peed on the carpet twice due to being terrified. (Thank God they now have stuff you can buy to remove the odor.) Poor Sidney has had his happy life disrupted, and the rest of us humans are in a state of continuous anxiety. Still, I haven’t given up. I want my therapy lap cat. I tell myself the worst is over, and I’m trying to take this one day at a time.

            To be continued …


About waywardweed

I am a consumer and parent of two sons, one with a mental illness and the other a third-year law student.
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