While dogs and even horses are often lauded for their work as therapy animals, have you ever wondered about therapy cats? Usually branded as stoic and standoffish, anyone who isn’t a cat person might say that our feline friends simply aren’t cut out for the work. It’s true that some cats prefer privacy and personal space, but as any cat owner will tell you, they also provide amazing companionship, comfort, and even healing. Purina recognizes cats for all the love they provide humans, and they think the world would be better off with more therapy cats…and we agree!
There are countless programs and initiatives that help train and certify therapy dogs, but opportunities for cats are few and far between. To remedy this, Purina Cat Chow is working with a non-profit called Pet Partners to help fund the training and registration of therapy cats.
Purina has so far donated $30,000 that will go toward covering the costs associated with registering a cat as an official therapy animal. Through Pet Partners, a new handler registration fee is normally $95. But thanks to Purina, cat parents can now take advantage of a reduced fee of $50.
Purina hopes that this financial assistance will encourage more cat owners to seriously consider registering their cats as therapy animals. Therapy cats could do anything from visit children in hospitals to spending time with senior citizens in nursing homes. They could also visit college campuses to offer stress relief to students.
Not every cat would be happy with therapy work, but cats possess many traits that make them purrfect for the job. Dr. Anne Valuska told PEOPLE the best therapy cats love interacting with people and have a calm, predictable temperament. They need to be tolerant of new situations and enjoy meeting all different kinds of new people. It’s also a bonus if the cat is already comfortable wearing a harness and walking on a leash.
Do those qualities remind you of your cat? If yes, they could have a fulfilling career as a therapy animal. If you’re interested in learning more about the process of registering a therapy cat or the actual work, visit the Pet Partners website.