Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Therapy Cat Tales

Tabby writes:

There are such highs and lows in this job!  I'm sorry this note is a few days late, but I've been thinking about how to write down the emotional rollercoaster that was our last visit.

When we were on the MAX light rail train, a whole class of middle schoolers got on.  I'd been almost snoozing in my stroller as Mommy talked with her seatmate, but I quickly woke up as a boy bumped into the side of the stroller.  His teacher told him to watch out, and after that he didn't bump into me anymore, but I remained afraid that he would and was ready to hiss and/or growl if he did that again.  He and another boy were swinging around right in front of me using the handholds!

We got off a few stops later, and I was soooo glad!  My fur immediately went back down to normal.  Mommy petted me and helped calm me down for a few moments before we strolled through the park.  Let me tell you, I was QUITE ready to be in the building!  We got our list and I said hi to S. & R.  I kind of wanted to just stay with them my whole visit, but they said that I had to go up and visit with my other friends too.  So I let Mommy carry me out of the room and wheel me into the elevator to go see the other people.

Once we got to our floor, I was content visiting, and actually quite happy to see my friends there.  I'd calmed down from the traumatic start to the day, and asked my friends for pets, headbutting them as well.  Some of my friends were waiting in the lobby area on their floor, so I visited with them first, and met a new staff member (or at least new to me).  Then, we went to the first room, where someone had human visitors already!  I love when that happens, because it means more pets for me!  One of the visitors was sitting on the edge of the high bed, and I sat on the floor under her feet and looked right up at her, trying to figure out what she was doing there.  Was I supposed to ask her to pet me?  Try to jump way up into her lap?  Jump on the bed?  Wait to be lifted up?  Mommy picked me up and put me on the lady's lap, and then I made myself quite at home there, curling up and being petted.  The lady was thrilled that there was a visiting therapy cat who came to see her relative!  The man in the chair smiled the whole time, watching his smaller visitor and his human visitors interact.  I sat with him, too, and sniffed the brace on his knee.

Then, I could hear people in the lobby area clamoring for me again, so I dragged Mommy off to visit them!  Everyone laughed at that.  I said hi to four more people, including one who wanted to follow me instead of have us follow him to a chair.  We finally got him to sit down, then rolled the stroller over so he could pet me once I'd hopped back in.  I also met a stuffed animal doggie that a lady was showing to another friend of hers.  They wondered if maybe I'd think it was real, but I sniffed it, looked at it funny, and promptly ignored it.  Everyone had a good laugh over that, too!

I peeked around the corner of the next room, wanting to visit the person there, but was told that she was sleeping.  Nope!  She was awake, and moved her hands when she heard, so we went in.  I met her lavendar kitty neck pillow, and curled up with it!  Mommy was amazed by that.  E. loved seeing me and petting me, and will be looking forward to our next visit.

The next two people didn't remember me, but I remembered them.  I wanted to climb into their laps, but consented to being on their beds instead.  Not remembering me happens a lot with my friends here.  I don't mind at all, because I know that I visit with them, whether or not they remember later on that I was there.  Some of my best friends were sleeping, and I hated to pass their rooms, so I kept sticking my nose in at the door and then not budging until Mommy picked me up to move me on to the next room.

We visited with B., who had been doing visual acuity cards with a therapist right before we walked in.  They were just finishing up, so we were waved inside.  B. petted me and talked with us while I rolled over and over for tummy rubs and jowl rubs.  B. cannot see well, so sometimes she didn't know which end I had facing her, but then she would feel either my whiskers or my tail and be able to tell.  She was gentle petting me.

One of the ladies we visited is only going to be there a short time and then will go back home.  She has a cat at home waiting for her, so we heard all about her.  She also has friends who are looking to adopt cats, and took Mommy's phone number to give to them so that maybe our foster cat Little Bit can find a home with one of the lady's friends.  Something may or may not come of that, but at least a lead is out there.

After two hours of visiting, I was definitely ready to go, and telling Mommy I was ready, but we couldn't go without saying hi to M.  She's one of my two favorite friends there.  I growled when Mommy picked me up to be petted by M., but was fine being set on the bed for pets.  I was just too tired to be held and wanted to curl up and enjoy my last friend of the day.  M. was having an excellent day, we thought, able to remember that she had talked with us and almost able to remember my name.  She also remembered that we had heard her favorite cat story, involving a kitty she grew up with, so she and Mommy partially retold it to each other and had fun with that.  She read Mommy's nametag and called her by name, which she'd never done before!  But then, she told us that her mother was coming and bringing her cat next time.  She looked so happy that we might get to meet this kitty from the story, but we knew that was never going to happen because her mother and the cat have both long since passed.  The topic of conversation moved once again to me, and then we said our goodbyes.

Such a bittersweet day, but truly such is life for all of us.


Marg said...

Wow Tabby, you do have to work very hard and we are so proud of you for doing all that well wishing. You really are a wonderful cat. We do wish those boys hadn't upset you though. Maybe it won't happen again.
And thanks Mom for taking Tabby to these places. What a great thing to do. Have a great week.

Hannah and Lucy said...

We haven't visited your site before but we have enjoyed your post. It's great that people are able to be around animals when they can no longer keep a pet.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Wow! That sounds like a very busy day for you!

Sparkle said...

That was quite a visit! You work very hard Tabby. It's too bad there aren't more therapy cats out there.

Julia, Canidae Pet Blog Editor said...


What an amazing feline you are! I'm so happy there are kitties like you, doing such great things for humans.

I'm passing your contact info on to my boss, because CANIDAE has been looking for therapy cats to sponsor. I want to write an article about you for our blog too, but it probably won't be until next month. I shall contact you! Thanks.

meowmeowmans said...

Wow, you and your mom do awesome and important work, Tabby! Thank you for bringing such joy and goodness to the people you visit!

Everycat said...

Gosh what a hectic day for you and your Mom. You made many people very happy and that's such a good thing to do. Hope your next journey on the bus is less scary and there are no noisy kids hassling you.

Whicky Wuudler