PAT Cat of the Month
BARNUM, and his brother Bailey, came into the veterinary surgery where I work for rehoming through our cat charity, Lonely Pawz. Their owner had died, and her husband worked away during the week, so there was nobody to look after them.
Barnum and his brother Bailey came into the veterinary surgery where I work for rehoming through our cat charity, Lonely Pawz. Their owner had died and her husband worked away during the week, so there was nobody to look after them. I fell for them immediately, and two days later they came home with me on 5 November 2003. My elderly corgi, Megan, is a P.A.T. Dog and she accepted them despite never having had a cat living in the house before.
Barnum soon proved to be a very social cat, visiting all my neighbours regularly. I thought that he might make a good Pets As Therapy cat and arranged to have him temperament-tested as soon as he had lived with me for the required six months. He passed with flying colours and now visits Newquay hospital. He loves being fussed, and has been known to settle down on a bed for a sleep.
Many patients like a cat even more than a dog visiting and are quite surprised when we arrive. The different reactions when I took the dog in first and then swapped her for the cat were quite marked. People that hardly spoke to the dog loved the cat. He has joined in the PAT parade at St. Austell Hospital fete for the last two years, just sitting in my arms amongst all the dogs. The first visit led to an interview on Radio Cornwall and, yes, he did get his voice heard.
We believe that he is the only cat working in Cornwall at present and keep trying to recruit more.
Despite looking innocent he is a great hunter, with mice, field voles, froglets and baby rabbits to his credit. Some I have rescued alive, despite the fact that they often arrive live in my bedroom in the early hours of the morning. Sweet cat!!! He has had to put up with a recent upheaval in his life in the form of a new puppy.
I lost Megan in February and the new puppy arrived in June, another tricoloured Pembrokeshire Corgi named Carys. Now she loves Barney and wants to kiss him and play with him. He has at last decided that he can cope with her. He puts up with being flattened, often ending up with a very wet head where she has kissed him.
As I hope she will also become a PAT dog and join in visiting with Barnum, they will have to be good friends.
If you think your cat would make a good PAT cat, please contact Pets As Therapy on 0870 977 0003 or look at the website www.petsastherapy.org