Feline Therapy for Seniors | Bringing the love of cats to humans that need it

You probably have heard of equine therapy, dolphin therapy, dogs visiting nursing homes. But cats? In Singapore? In medical facilities? Yes, it is possible.

Kieran working at Thye Hwa Kuan’s existing cat therapy programme

Since last year, we have been envisioning and researching on feline therapy for patients in hospitals and nursing homes. If we the young and able can experience the healing love of cats, we should share this love. After all, we -are- called Love Kuching Project, and our mission is about loving cats.

Apart from sharing the therapeutic effects cats can have on those who are ill, we also wanted to help those of you who live with parents, want to adopt a cat, but face parental objection. If we can prove that cats are actually good for health and safe enough to enter even medical facilities, perhaps your parents will change their minds, right?

Another patient experiencing kitty-love

We want to change the mindset of some of our elderly citizens who think that cats are dirty and transmit diseases. This is quite far from the truth, but before rabies was eradicated in Singapore in the 60s, citizens were educated that cats are carriers of rabies and should not be pets in HDB flats.

The seniors who lived through this period might still think the same way, that, “cats are dirty.” Cat Welfare Society mediators do a lot of education on the fact that cats are highly unlikely to spread diseases to humans, and we want to do our part in proving this fact too.

If we can change the cat adoption climate by showing the therapeutic effects of cats to the lives of seniors, that would be just one more benefit on top of our therapy objectives for these patients.

And so we built our Outreach Team, we developed a structured feline therapy programme with specific therapy objectives that can be measured. When therapy objectives can be measured, it means that there is data that can be presented showing the benefits of feline therapy, which will help promote feline therapy even further. (We found very little academic literature on feline therapy, even in foreign university online libraries.)

Our feline therapy programme focuses on 3 measurables: psychological, social and psychomotor therapy benefits.

Thye Hwa Kuan at Ang Mo Kio already had a visionary staff member, Sharil, that pushed for feline therapy to take place for their patients. Cat Welfare Society aided them in their initial launch, and it has been taking place every fortnight since. We are now in partnership with THK to implement our structured feline therapy programme.

Our next client will be Renci Nursing Home, where we have tailored our programme for their bed-ridden patients in the wards. Our pilot run starts in early May.

Currently all our therapy sessions are during the weekdays. After our therapy programmes are fully developed in both locations, we will open for weekend sessions, which ad hoc volunteers (humans AND cats) can register to attend. 

If you volunteer or work at a seniors’ facility or know someone who does, link us up! Our feline therapy programme is pro bono. Mostly sheer hard work by the team and the therapy cats:

Our Outreach Volunteers – from left, Camellia, Jess and Nicole. (Absent: Ann)

For the expenses incurred in providing feline therapy to senior welfare homes, we have set up an Outreach Fund. This fund also financially supports any adoption events we host or attend. We don’t need to spend much for now, but if you would like to show your support for outreach initiatives, give to our bank account (info below) and email us to indicate you are giving to the Outreach Fund. Future projected expenses will include grooming items, toys, harnesses, printing services (for events).

Hope you approve of this kitty-love sharing initiative! Inspired? Click one of the share buttons below this post.

Current fundraising need: Make a pledge to our ER Fund.

Make a financial gift via a deposit to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7.  Find out more.    
Become a monthly giver to help ensure our rescues continue getting their needs met.    
Feed and provide litter to the cats we foster via our corporate sponsor The Water Dish.     
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