The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.
Part 8: Learning the Ins and Outs
When presenting with a Therapy Cat, one must always expect the unexpected, be prepared for changes, and learn to go with the flow. Since Tinkerbelle and I visited assisted living facilities where there is a diverse mix of people, I soon discovered that I had to be ready for anything, from cat lovers who accost us in the hallways to cat haters who scream at the sight of a cat. This is what I learned:
Ask upon entering a room if anyone is allergic or cat-phobic. Only when everyone is comfortable should we mingle.
Sometimes people pet too enthusiastically or even roughly; if that happens, never reprimand but instead, quietly disengage them with a smile.
Dementia sufferers may need a little guidance before they recall the comfort of petting a cat, but the result is worth the effort.
Many people want to feed or give treats. Explain that it’s against the rules (for several reasons, including the health of the cat) and politely decline.
Most important of all, when Tinkerbelle tells me she’s had enough, we say our fond goodbyes until next time.
Tink served for four years as a registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat, visiting assisted living facilities and hospice patients. Tink is now retired and living the quiet life. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/
About Mollie Hunt:
Mollie is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers’ Association. This year she won a CWA Muse Medallion for her 3-part blogpost series, “Life Stages”.
Like Lynley, Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She is a longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society where she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.
You can find Mollie on her Website: http://www.lecatts.wordpress.com/, her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt, and her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/.
Sign up for her Extremely Informal Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c0fOTn.