6 Reasons Why Cats Make Great Therapy Animals

cats as therapy pets

There is always a lot of talk about the benefits of therapy dogs, but many people don’t realize that therapy cats can also be incredibly helpful for people who have mental or physical conditions. Cats provide unconditional love, and they are great companions. In fact, so many experts believe cats are so beneficial that companies like Purina are spending money to help people who want to register their pet as a therapy cat.

The point is that therapy cats can do wonders for many people around the world, regardless of their situation. To prove the point, we will talk about a few of the reasons why cats make great therapy animals.

Ragamuffin cat breed

1. Cats Are Very Comforting

Cats can be incredibly beneficial to their owner’s mental health. Their biggest claim to fame is that they are great companions and they are very comforting when you need them most. Just the act of stroking a cat’s fur can help to calm your nerves and put you in a better mental place. In fact, your body literally reacts and releases the stress hormone cortisol when you pet a cat, which is what helps you to feel better.

Sometimes, cats can get a negative reputation for being standoffish, but the reality is that cats will never skip the chance to show their love. Even if they can tell you are in a negative mood, they will still try to comfort you. Their companionship is essential to a happy existence because when you know that you have a cat that cares about you no matter the circumstance, you can feel better about your life. Plus, since cats depend on you for their general well-being, they also give you a sense of purpose.

2. Cats Are Often Less Intrusive

Many people recommend therapy cats because of the laid-back attitude they often present. Although they will always be there to rub your feet and let you pet them, they don’t require the constant activity that dogs and other animals need to be happy. While you want to get some physical activity, you don’t necessarily need to bring cats on long walks outside or play games in the backyard. They provide just the right amount of responsibility and engagement that someone in need may be able to handle.

cute couple with cat

3. They Help You Meet Other People

Of course, if you have a therapy cat and you want to get out of the house and meet other people, you can do that too. You can take them out to the park or to a pet-friendly restaurant or bookstore or just stop by the local pet store. By bringing the cat, you may find it is not as stressful to ease into a conversation with another person.

4. They Are Helpful for Veterans

Because of the reasons mentioned above, cats can be incredibly helpful to many different groups of people, including veterans. The sad reality is that when many veterans return home from combat, they can face various issues, from chronic illness to a lack of stability and mental health issues. A cat may be part of the answer to many of those ailments. The necessary routine of feeding and caring for the cat will help provide the stability veterans need. Plus, if a veteran deals with PTSD and has a particularly stressful moment, they can pet their cat, and it could put them at ease.

5. Cats Are Also Great Companions for Older Folks

Older adults may have physical and mental impairments as they age, and once again, a therapy cat can be the answer. Many older people are immobile or otherwise are not able to get out of the house very often, so they can experience feelings of loneliness and depression. If they are unable to resolve their mental issues, that pain can manifest itself in physical ways through conditions like high blood pressure and obesity. A cat can be a companion that is always around. Plus, the need to feed and pet the cat will also give older folks a reason to get up and move around, and that physical movement is essential for their overall health.

If you are a caregiver for an older adult and they do not have the ability to properly care for a cat, then you can find other ways to get them in contact with animals, including going to the zoo or volunteering some time at an animal shelter. A few hours with some furry friends will do wonders for their health.

6. Cats Can Do Wonders for Kids Too

The point is that cats can be great companions for people of all ages, even teenagers. For example, therapy cats are awesome for kids with autism because they have a habit of putting the child at ease as they stroke their fur and watch them walk around the room. Many children also suffer from separation anxiety, and again, cats can be the constant companion when parents and siblings cannot. A cat is also a great choice because if you give your child the job of feeding it every day, they will learn about responsibility and how to take care of things as they get older.

There are many reasons why therapy cats make great pets. If you know someone who needs some help, recommend a feline friend, and it could change their entire life.

About the Author

Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.

Was this article helpful?