Dogs are adorable and love doing whatever they can to make their humans happy. So it is common to hear of them being used for therapy purposes. On the other hand, cats are unpredictable. One minute, they are circling your feet seeking your affection, and the next minute you pet them at the risk of being scratched. Still, there are some cats out there who can maintain their temperament, making them the ideal therapy cats. One particular cat has attracted loads of attention with his ability to cheer patients up with just his presence. Meet Mr. London Meow: the therapy cat visiting hospitals to give patients a reason to keep smiling even in their pain.
He is a comfort for both patients and staff
It is hard to imagine a cat that allows even strangers to pet him, but Mr. London Meow is one friendly cat. His owner, Isabel Serafina, described the cat as bubbly, generous, fun, and can sense those who need a lot of attention, which makes him the perfect therapy. Mr. London was visiting the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel when one patient, Lawrence Parker, could not hide the joy he gets petting Mr. London. He said it was a privilege since most hospitals do not allow animals to avoid spreading infections.
Patients cannot wait to have the cat visiting them in their respective wards. The moment he starts making his rounds, one employee of the hospital, Yusuf Yousuf, says that whispers begin circulating that Meow is finally there. However, it is not just the patients who find Mr. London Meow a delight; the hospital staff have also grown fond of him. Isabel said that Mr. London Meow has a way with people, and even the staff was excited to pet him. It is no wonder that he also has a VIP pass allowing to come in at whatever time and provide some therapeutic comfort to those who need it most.
He is popular on social media
You cannot help falling in love with the charming Mr. London Meow, who has an impressive wardrobe. The cat has a collection of bow ties, ties, and shirts that make him so admirable that he has attracted loads of fans on all his social media accounts. On Instagram, where he flaunts his charming looks, the cat has 6.6k followers with all his pictures getting at least 300 likes, quite a big deal for a cat. On Facebook, the number of fans is a bit higher at nearly 8.7k. On Twitter, he has 449 followers.
He is registered with Pets as Therapy (PAT)
On all his social media platforms, Mr. London Meow reveals that he is registered with Pets as Therapy. According to the PAT website, the charity was established in 1983 by Lesley Scott-Ordish and aims to enhance the wellbeing and health of the community through trusted volunteers and behaviorally assessed animals. Mr. London Meow qualifies to join since he has been with his owner for at least six months and now is a year old. PAT does not allow cats less than nine months old to be therapy cats. With his calm demeanor, Mr. London Meow was able to pass the temperamental test alloying him to offer his services to patients without the risk of agitating them.
Another cat being groomed to be a therapy cat
Mr. London Meow may soon have a partner to help ease the workload. Another cat, Quita, is being groomed to be the first independent therapy cat in Camden. At the time the Standard went public with the news in July 2019, Quita was only six months old thus too young to become a therapy cat. Her owner, Bob Padron, owns Penrose Care, an ethical home care provider establishment for the elderly and disabled. Bob had no intention of turning Quita into a therapy cat since all he wanted was an office pet to keep him company while he worked. However, his aunt from California thought it would be wise having had the experience in the US where patients make a remarkable recovery with the help of such animals. Bob, who is always ready to do everything he can for his patients, welcomed the idea. He is so dedicated to his work that he has been recognized twice as the most outstanding leader in the care sector in the UK.
Quita’s outgoing personality already makes her the ideal candidate for bringing some comfort to Bob’s patients. However, he will have to wait until she is mature enough in January 2020 for her to start working. Unlike the US, which has lots of restrictions for an animal that wants to be trained for therapeutic purposes, the UK does not have a strict qualification process. Since Quita sometimes becomes extra playful risking aggression, Bob is content with having her as a pet if she fails the temperament assessment.
How cats help patients
According to Metro, those who have mental illness can make significant improvements if they interact with therapy cats. One woman, Beth, can get severe anxiety, and her rescue cat, Tiggs, always seems to know when she needs to be calmed down. Tiggs, therefore, checks in on her human whenever Beth is in her room and sits with her. Jack, on the other hand, has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which can manifest itself as anger. His dog, Belle, does not read it as anger and instead knows that Jack only needs to be happy. So he does something silly to help him get rid of his negative emotions.
Cats make the best therapy animals because unlike dogs that will avoid anyone whose facial expression reads “angry,” cats will adjust with subtle responses. While most people have written off cats as introverted and moody, some scientific studies suggest that they pick up what we are feeling and respond appropriately. So maybe the next time your cat wants to sit on your lap, it is not because he is seeking warmth. He probably can tell that you are anxious about something and only wants to help.