PAT Cat of the Month
We were lucky enough to acquire this little lad in November 1994. He was not actually a rescued cat, but his owner decided she did not want him and my daughter persuaded us to take him in, even though we already had 3 cats! Apparently his mother was a pedigree Persian who was used for breeding; unfortunately (although not for me!) she was “got at” by a wandering moggie and the result was a litter of positively unpedigree kittens.
Tigger fitted in with my other cats as if he had always been with us – he was one of the family right from the start.
I became interested in Pets As Therapy last year. I originally thought it was only for dogs but when I enquired on the website I was delighted to discover that cats of the right temperament are also accepted. Two of my cats have been assessed as being suitable to visit but Mindy, who I originally thought would be more suitable, is not a very good visitor. Tigger however has become an excellent visitor and we visit a Christian Nursing Home every Monday afternoon.
He was a bit nervous at first but gradually week by week he is really blossoming. He is very gentle, and the joy on an elderly person’s face when they touch his warm, soft fur is amazing. The Activities Co-ordinator at the Home always accompanies me as she knows which people will benefit most from a visit.
Some of the residents say that they don’t like cats and that is fine. Others are not too sure but if they say they would like to stroke him I reassure them and tell them he will not hurt them and you can actually see the person visibly relaxing in his company. The Co-ordinator quite often expresses surprise at a resident’s reaction.
Of course, there is always the resident whose face lights up when we enter their room and I must admit I am so proud of Tigger when a person is delighted to see him. He seems to sense people who love him and I can feel him relax physically.
Another beneficial aspect of visiting the Home is that many of the residents’ visitors enjoy seeing Tigger. Sometimes the person they are visiting is asleep or resting and it is a diversion for the visitor to have a chat.
The question I am asked most by residents, visitors and staff is: “What happened to his eye?” This happened when he was about 18 months old and I can only assume that one of the other cats had an altercation with him. Our vet tried for weeks and weeks to save his eye with drops and medication but in the end he had to remove it. It was an upsetting time.
The vet assured me that Tigger would manage very well with one eye, and this has proved to be the case. He does everything that the other 3 cats do, he goes out whenever he wants to, he spends time in the garden when the weather is good and helps with the gardening. He sleeps in his own box a lot of the time – he just pleases himself. What a guy!
Ann Carter, Birkenhead
If you would like to register your cat as a PAT cat please contact Pets As Therapy on 01844-345445 or visit the website www.petsastherapy. org