Cats Make Great Therapy Animals

Photo Credit: Diverse Ability

They're furry and cute, and they can even be entertaining at times, but it turns out our furry feline friends are more than just cute, they benefit us emotionally too. When you took in your cat or cats, you probably thought that you were taking care of them most of all, but they are taking care of you in their own way too. Cats are now becoming emotional support animals for people who benefit from animal assistance for their emotional wellbeing. This is not to be confused with service dogs or service animals that go through months, if not years of special training to become attuned to the patient's needs. In the United States, any animal can be an emotional therapy animal, but service animals have to be properly certified to help people who have disabilities. Emotional support animals are brought into a patient's treatment plan to give some extra emotional support to someone who has undergone any trauma or someone who has depression, anxiety or any mental illness. The benefits of cats include providing some company and companionship while easing depression and loneliness. Up until recently, dogs were the first choice when it came to animal-assisted care, then horses, but now that's being opened up to cats and other pets like rabbits, hamsters and birds.

Even certain nursing homes have animals come in to interact with the residents, and the residents show improved mood after spending some time with the animals. When you're considering a cat or any other animal to be an emotional support the animal should be calm and friendly with a good temperament. They must also love interacting with humans as well. Depending on the person's medical and emotional needs the cat may also do well to be accustomed or comfortable with being around medical equipment or in medical situations. Once a person finds the perfect cat, they will experience the benefits of cats including their unconditional love, cuddles and their purring. It's been shown that a cat purring emits a vibration that has healing benefits. The vibration caused by a cat purring can help to relax the person near the cat which can aid in lowering anxiety, stress, and blood pressure. When you're petting your own cat or any cat, it creates a positive feedback loop which is good for both the cat and you. It's a healthy connection that can help you feel less lonely and more connected with another being which can help ease depression too.

If you experience anxiety, depression or anything else, it's important to find yourself a good therapist first. To do this, you can look online through Psychology Today for a list of recognized and registered psychologists, therapists and counsellors in your area. Usually, therapists will give free 15 minute consultations to see if they will be a match for your needs. Be prepared to tell them a bit about your current situation and what you need help with. You can even mention that you are thinking about having an emotional support animal or exploring the benefits of cats as emotional support animals. Then, when you book an appointment with the therapist of your choice, you can ask your therapist more about emotional therapy animals. Diverse Ability mentions that Pet Partners is one of the top organizations that helps people get animal assistance and certifications for therapy animals. On the website, you can read through more information and even take a quiz that will help you determine if your pet could be part of an animal therapy support team. Learn more and consider having animal assistance for therapeutic purposes.***

Learn MORE at Diverse Ability


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