The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.

By Mollie Hunt

Part 5. Registered!

On test day, I took Tinkerbelle to the Oregon Humane Society where the Pet Partner testing was to be done. Both of us were well-groomed and looked our best for the judges. (Pet Partners humans are required to dress nicely and to always give a good impression of the group.) Tink was bathed, teeth cleaned, claws clipped, and brushed until her long black fur shone. I was nervous; she was not.

The test was made up of simulated real-life situations we might encounter on a routine visit. Volunteers helped act out scenes such as you might find in a hospital, school, or assisted living facility. I held Tinkerbelle in my arms while someone dropped a metal tray and talked loudly. Someone else walked by with a dog. Three people passed Tinkerbelle between them and she was required to sit quietly for 30 seconds on each lap. Tinkerbelle excels at sitting on laps so she had no trouble there.

The judges observed me as well. They made sure I never let go of her leash, watched how I related to the “patients”, and took note of how I interacted with Tinkerbelle as each new situation arose. Pet Partners believes your therapy animal is your first and foremost concern.

Needless to say, Tink passed with flying colors. It was a little funny because she was the only cat being tested, and most of the judges had only judged dogs before. On that day, she became 1 of only 3 registered AAI cats in the city of Portland. We always knew how special she was!

About Tinkerbelle:
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.




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Persistence by Joe Longo


by Joe Longo

Persistence is a lesson my husband and I learned from our sweet black cat: Baby Kitty

Baby kitty had a kitty friend that would come by and the two would bat playfully with each other under our patio door for hours. One day the other kitty stopped coming by. Baby Kitty sat and waited patiently for weeks, staring at the opening under the door. Then one day the other kitty returned, and Baby Kitty resumed batting with his friend.

Baby Kitty always has dry food. But in the evening around five o’clock we give him a treat, tuna fish from a can. He starts rubbing our legs around 4:30 and looks at us with his big eyes reminding us it’s time. He is a mild-mannered cat but insistent in his sweet way when it is time for his treat. He does not stop until the tuna is placed in his favorite blue bowl.

Two kittens were added to our family, Cookie and Marlowe. Baby Kitty wasn’t too happy with the additions. One evening Baby Kitty started meowing and importuning us with his big eyes. We couldn’t understand what he wanted. He did not want to go on the patio to play; he had had his treat. But he had stationed himself by the front door, a place he never stood, and kept insisting that we play attention to him. But we could not figure out what he wanted. His meowing grew louder and more insistent, and he began to scratch at the door. I went to he door; opened it; and one of the kittens, Marlowe, was standing on the front steps shivering. He had somehow gotten out of the house. Once Marlowe was inside, Baby Kitty looked up at me and his big eyes were smiling.

Baby Kitty taught us persistence.

The Power of a Grooming Cat

Many cats spend up to half of their waking hours grooming themselves. But why?

From Then to Now
A mother will lick her kittens very shortly after giving birth. This is to stimulate her kittens but also to clean and comfort them. Kittens will be groomed by their mother the first 3-6 weeks of their lives but will slowly start to do it on their own. Although momma cat may still continue to occasionally help out. As you can see, grooming is imprinted into a kitten’s mind pretty quickly as something of importance!

Keeping it Fresh
Not only does daily licking keep your kitty looking fresh, it also has important health benefits. Daily grooming is key for healthy skin because it stimulates the production of sebum (an oily secretion produced by sebaceous glands at the base of each hair) and removes dander and loose hairs from the coat. This also causes your furry friend’s hair to have a presentable, beautiful glow!

Just look at Captain Miller keeping his fur fresh! Have I mentioned how adorable a grooming cat can appear?

Instinctual Tactics
Ever notice how after returning from an outdoor adventure, a trip to the vet, or an extended duration of pets from you that your kitty will begin a grooming fest? You are not alone if you have observed this! Many cats will groom themselves after such activities solely for the purpose of maintaining his or her scent. Many believe this behavior comes from their instincts in the wild to distinguish themselves among their cat colony.

Gandalf mid-groom

“Hey, Mom! I am mid-groom here!”-Gandalf

Sweaty Paws
Unlike us hoomans, cats don’t sweat all over. In fact, they only sweat through their paw pads. Cleaning their little paws with their determined tongue allows kitties to cool down their overall body temperature. Think about how much you can control your own temperature by just taking off or putting on a pair of warm socks!

Pure love
Ever see one of your cats walk up to the other and begin licking his head? I know it happens in my house often. Mutual grooming may take place among 2 or more kitties. Typically mutual grooming is out of love and respect, not necessarily for a hygiene benefit. However, cats may recognize the need to help their friends reach a hard-to-get spot and respond with mutual grooming.

Mutual Grooming


Don’t forgets
Although your kitty could start their own licking business, don’t forget the importance of brushing and petting your feline friends. Many pet parents have found masses on their kitties’ skin while performing routine grooming or during regular snuggle sessions. These pesky lumps could be serious or not but the sooner a vet takes a look, the better! Additionally, a kitty who once groomed himself well and no longer is taking pride in keeping clean and tidy could be a cause for concern. This may be a sign of illness in any age and/or arthritis in older aged kitties. Be sure to see a vet as soon as you can!

As you have learned, grooming is a large part of your kitties’ lives! And your life too if you share your home with a groomin’ feline!

Thanks to the amazing Katzenworld for featuring my guest post. Be sure to check out my blog at kittymeowsite.com