Jul 19

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Therapy Cats Provide Dramatic Autism Support

Therapy Cats Provide Dramatic Autism Support

Therapy Cats Provide Dramatic Autism Support

I know you have heard of therapy dogs, but have you heard of therapy cats?

A recent news story featured Iris Grace Halmshaw and her cat Thula. The little girl, who has autism, has a deep connection to her pet, and Thula is also attached to her. Iris is just one example of the many autistic children who have formed bonds with their cats. The children benefit in multiple ways and improve their social skills while the pets become their best friends.

Therapy cats are turning into a common phenomenon for children with autism. Researchers have tried to study this trend, but it is the positive stories from families that are encouraging others to try the method. Iris’ parents initially tried dogs and horses as potential therapy animals, but Iris did not respond to them. However, after Thula the cat appeared in Iris’ life, she became happier, more responsive and willing to try new activities. Thula is able to calm Iris down and distract her. She has made a dramatic difference in the little girl’s life. 

Pets can encourage children with autism to interact with their environments and improve their social skills. In Iris’ case, her language skills improved as she learned to communicate with her cat. Researchers have noted that pets can help coax autistic children out of their shells. Therapy cats and other animals can help them learn empathy, increase sharing and offer comfort.

Parents report that therapy animals help their kids interact with others, learn new skills and make eye contact. These children are more willing to speak, study and listen. The unconditional love that pets provide helps kids feel more at peace in their surroundings and helps them feel more comfortable with new activities. 

The connection between cats and their owners is helping children with autism overcome multiple challenges. Some families have reported dramatic improvements in their children after therapy cats appeared in their lives.

I have always loved cats!  I know there are some who are very allergic to cats, thankfully Iris was not!  For those of you who can tolerate cats, maybe this would be a very welcome help for an autistic child!

Permanent link to this article: https://inspiringwordsfromtheheart.com/19224-2/


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  1. 1
    cassandra m

    i love cats! this is great i have never heard of therapy cats before. only dogs.

    1. 1.1

      I know, Therapy cats was a new concept for me too.

  2. 2
    Leeanne C

    It’s good to know that pets have a positive connection with children who have Autism. Cats are very social and it’s the unconditional love they show towards their owners.

  3. 3

    This is important information. Thank you for sharing it with us at Thoughts of Home.

  4. 4

    This is really cool. I had no idea about therapy cats. My daughter has cerebral palsy and I often wonder about therapy pets. Thanks for sharing!

    1. 4.1

      Therapy pets really do make a huge difference Becky.

  5. 5

    This is an important message.
    Thank you for sharing this at Thoughts of Home.
    We are so glad you are here!

  6. 6
    Cindy Magee

    I’ve never heard of therapy cats but have heard of therapy dogs. As a person who loves dogs AND cats I think this is great!

    1. 6.1

      I love sharing info that is new to my readers Cindy! Therapy Cats were new to me too. I have a friend who works on the Mental Health inpatient unit and they use therapy dogs all the time.

  7. 7
    ellen beck

    Cats are also so much easier to care for the most dogs (my opinion) and a loving cat will tolerate much more. A scratch if it happens is easier to treat than a potential bite and a cat will retreat in most instances should play become rough. I have to agree cats are good for everyone and they are proven to lower blood pressure. Some say the decibel of a cats purr is healing.

  8. 8
    tiffany dayton

    This is very interesting.Animals are so smart.

  9. 9
    Tamra Phelps

    My brother’s family just got a dog from a family with an autistic child who discovered that a big puppy was not the pet for an autistic child, or at least not their child. It was just to active & upset the child. A cat might be just the right fit, though. Cats do tend to be calmer, don’t they?

    1. 9.1

      I guess it all depends on the cat. I’ve had cats so wild they climb my curtains and that upsets me! But really a small dog is a good fit.

  10. 10
    janie vezina

    this is great, we are looking into getting our son a mira dog.

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