We’ve all heard about therapy dogs working in hospitals and nursing homes, but did you know that you can train your cat to do the same job a dog does in those facilities? You can and here’s some information on how train your feline to be a therapy cat.
Why a Cat?
You might be thinking that the dog is better suited for therapy or emotional support than a cat. After all, cats can be independent and strong willed, but it’s been shown that petting a cat can reduce blood pressure, relieve stress and give a sense of joy to someone who is in a hospital, prison or in need of a friend. It does take specific training and there are other requirements before your cat can be registered and then certified as a therapy cat.
If you’re registered with Pet Partners, your cat must be at least a year old and have been in your home for a minimum of six months. In addition, your cat cannot be fed any kind of raw protein on a regular basis because people with immune systems that are compromised could risk infection.
This is really where the rubber meets the road because if your cat isn’t calm, friendly and comfortable with a situation that could be unpredictable at times, then she may not make a good therapy cat.
You want your cat to be used to lots of people handling them without any upset. If you have a cat who is retired from the show ring, this may be a perfect fit because they are used to different handlers taking care of them before a large show.
Once you have established that you and your cat meet the organization’s requirements, you can undergo training. This training course can either be in person or, occasionally, online. Before you’re certified, you will need to pass an in-person exam with an evaluator before you are permitted to do supervised visits to facilities. Once you’ve passed through probation, your cat will be certified to bring happiness to those who need it most.
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