the pawsitive impacts of pet therapy

The Pawsitive Impacts of Pet Therapy, from Dr. Elsey's
Benjamin Burt adopted us when he was five weeks old. He lived under a hedge with five other siblings. We lived in an apartment complex three stories above the hedge, but when I saw him dancing below, I went down to investigate. He immediately danced into my lap, and with his and my husband’s help, we ended up with handfuls of five tiny kittens. In the long run, three siblings adopted us. Years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After my surgery, Benjamin Burt spent most of his days and nights resting beside me, purring. Then I had a stroke. This time he not only purred constantly, but he also head-bumped me day and night. Cat therapy? Oh yeah!
After my first stem cell transplant, I spent several months at home recovering. A lot of that time, I was pretty sedentary and spent time on my couch reading or watching TV while my body healed. My two cats, Martha and her daughter, Stella, took turns lying on my chest, purring. Each would spend 30 or 40 minutes on me, and when one would get off my chest, the other would quickly resume the position. I called it my “feline therapy.” Since that time, I have read articles that the feline purring is at a frequency that actually has healing properties. I believe Martha and Stella instinctively knew I needed special attention and the healing their special therapy offered me.
My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 4 years ago. He and my mom live in Minnesota. I live in Colorado and was struggling with dealing with his disease. I adopted a cat, Zoe, almost two years ago, and she has become such a great companion. If I’m sad, she knows it, and she sits on my lap, purring. Whenever I talk to my dad on the phone, she always wants to say hi (purring non-stop). When my parents came to visit, Zoe cuddled right up with my dad. She is such a great therapy cat!
In 2018 within three months, I suffered a brain injury and Henry, my cat, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is very rare in cats. Henry taught me to focus on joy and positivity by taking each day at a time. We really can learn so much from our animals and how they handle illness. Their focus is on resting when they need to and only spending their energy on activities that bring them pleasure. They do not dwell on negativity. Henry is now stable, and I am following a rehabilitation program. I treasure every day we spend together and how Henry reminds me to focus on my recovery.
We have noticed that our cat Titus tends to be more cuddly and affectionate towards my husband or me after we've had any kind of medical procedure. When I got 3 wisdom teeth and a molar tooth taken out all in one shot, he came and slept with me while I was in bed. It felt better just to pet him and hear him purring next to me. Also anytime my husband gets radiofrequency or an epidural to help relieve his cervical disc pain, Titus will do the same thing, lay with him, cuddling and purring away. He's just really in tune with us.
When I adopted Tom, my beautiful, loving, playful rescue cat, in late 2018 I thought that I was saving him. But, in truth, he was saving me. In one of the loneliest, most horrible years of my life, this little ball of soft warmth, reassuring tractor-like purrs and endless charm came into my life and completely transformed it. Tom is now my family, my best friend and everything good in every single day. He's the reason I smile through tears, the reason I push myself to overcome my anxiety and do things he/we need done and the reason I feel loved and needed each day of my life. There is a permanent cat-shaped part in my heart now that will always be there because of Tom.
Our Maddie never used to come into our bedroom at night but when I returned home from Canada after spending the last few days of my Mom’s life at her bedside, I was very depressed. A night or two after my return I realized that Maddie was asleep at the foot of my side of the bed and she has done so every night since then three years ago! She must have sensed my need for comfort in her own way.
Our cat Pete always knew when I was sad and he would jump up in my lap and let me pet him. He would also jump on the bed and crawl under the sheet, he would lie along my side and knead his paws on me, all the while purring like a freight train. It felt like pure unadulterated love. Just knowing that he loved me as much as I loved him was so healing. In 2019, I lost both my parents, I had a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, but Pete would come on the bed every morning since I lost my folks and lay with me. Grief is isolating and lonely, but Pete was always there for me. So patient, kind and loving. I hope he knew how much I loved him and how much he healed me.
My cat Sven has brought so much joy to my life. He is my best friend and he even helps to keep me on track. Times when I’ve felt sad or hopeless I know I have to get up because this little furry creature is depending on me for food, love and friendship. He’s also a wonderful kitty alarm clock he loves to wake me up early and he meow talks to me throughout the day. I would be so lonely without his love and companionship.
My cat Bocal has always loved to cuddle, but always on her terms. When she wants to sit on your lap, she will find a way to crawl in there, and it didn't matter if you are busy or unavailable. However, she seems to have the unique ability to tell when I am upset or having a difficult time. They say a cat's purr has vibrational frequencies that can heal physical ailments. They say petting a cat's soft silky fur reduces high blood pressure. They say having a cat nearby will make you feel less lonely. My cat isn't just my pet. She is my therapist, my best friend, my everything.
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Cartoon of a woman in a rocking chair by a fire, reading a book. A cat is in her lap.