It’s true, even though it’s difficult to imagine. There are therapy cats, but not all of them are qualified for the job.
You are undoubtedly familiar with therapy dogs, which offer comfort and companionship to patients in hospitals and facilities for assisted living. Even small horses and potbellied pigs have been known to play this role, but what about cats? Find out how to certify your own cat and additional information about cats as therapy pets.
Are cats good therapy animals?
There is proof that petting a cat is beneficial for your health, and studies have even shown the benefits of purring. Studies have shown that cats can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and stimulate joyful emotions, thus it makes sense that some people wonder if cats might make ideal therapy pets.
Contrary to popular belief, some cats are just as gregarious as (or perhaps more so than) their canine cousins. Cats are equally excellent in this role as performances, but they must meet specific requirements in order to be registered as therapy animals. Several cat breeds, including the Maine Coon, Sphynx, Birman, Ragdoll, Tonkingese, Bobtail, Scottish Folds, and American Curl, actually function extraordinarily well as therapy cats.
How to Get Your Cat Certified as a Therapy Cats
If your cat is already sociable and at ease around people, he can be a good candidate for therapeutic cat training. One of the many organizations out there that offer therapeutic cat training will only do so if your cat satisfies certain requirements. Regional pet therapy associations exist in the majority of states. Pet Partners and Love on a Leash are two examples of these organizations. Even though each business may have different criteria, some might include the following:
- Normally, cats must be at least a year old.
- The cat has to have been yours for at least six months.
- Cats are not allowed to act aggressively toward people or other animals.
- Cats must be able to use a harness and leash
In addition to passing the minimal requirements, your cat will need to undergo training exams to see if it can interact with people and survive the stress of a hospital or other comparable environment. Retired show cats typically make the best therapy animals since they are used to being handled by unfamiliar people and are unfazed by hectic environments.
After finishing his training, your cat will need to be tested; if he passes, he will then go through a trial period. After successfully completing his demo time, your cat will be approved as a therapy cat and will then be ready to begin working.
Not all cats are good candidates for therapy cat work since it requires a certain disposition and extensive training. If you think your cat could be a good fit for this kind of job, talk to someone at your local therapy pet certification program for additional information or to set up a trial run.