FROM WILDCAT TO THERAPY CAT

Stroke Patient Speaks With Cat Therapy

The Routine

This past Saturday Kali-Ma and I returned to Medilodge Nursing Home. We had missed a regularly scheduled week of Cat Therapy due to my recent personal life challenges. Kali-Ma was more than ready to go and when we entered all the patients were joyful to see her return in her little pink stroller.

Kali-Ma the Cat Cat Therapy Stroller
Kali-Ma the Cat Cat Therapy Stroller

We have been there long enough that we are establishing a routine for our two hours spent there. At the start, we begin in the activities center. I place Kali-Ma on a large round table, and the patients roll their wheelchairs up to the table to pet her. She lies on a large blanket from home she is comfortable with.  Sometimes, if Kali-Ma is familiar with the patient she will go right into their lap. 

If patients cannot get to the table I cradle Kali-Ma in my arms and take her to each person for the cat therapy.  I also take Kali-Ma in her stroller to patients for in-room visits toward the end of our time there. Two hours are a lot for her with all the touching, but I give her breaks. Every thirty minutes or so, I put her in her stroller for five or ten minutes so she can be in her ‘safe place’ and relax. 

Kali-Ma the Cat Cat Therapy
Miss Barb and Kali-Ma

The New Patient

This week while we were sitting at the table a new patient was brought in. Her name was Mary. I was told she had a stroke and that when she spoke she didn’t make sense.  Sliding next to her I started a conversation and I did not understand the words she was saying.  They seemed to make sense to her, but to me, they were a jumbled different language. She was a perfect patient for cat therapy.

She began to stroke Kali-Ma’s paws. She really liked her paws. She took both Kali-Ma’s paws in her hands and softly stroked them repeatedly. I kept talking telling Kali-Ma what a good girl she was, as part of me was a little tense. Kali-Ma didn’t normally enjoy her paws played with to that degree.

Then Mary turned to me and said, “I wonder what they think”?

I replied, “What who thinks”?

She said, “Cats, I wonder what they think of us”?

I said to her, “I believe they are love Mary, just pure love”

She looked and me and nodded, “Yes, that’s right”

Then she released Kali-Ma’s paws and began talking in her own language again. No one else heard us. Kali-Ma came over to me and bumped her head to mine. We then continued on with our other patients. I took no photos as this was a private interaction. 

What You Give – You Receive

I have had many personal life challenges in the past few weeks.  That moment was the most treasured in my life I have had, quite possibly ever. It was as if everything was going on around me and there was only me, Kali-Ma and Mary – and the miracle of a few coherent words between us.  It was a gift I will treasure in my heart always.

Kali-Ma is a very special, blessed cat and I am so fortunate that we found each other. 

Until next time ….Happy Tails to you!


About Author

Gloria Tripp

Owner of Tails of Kali-Ma LLC where I blog about the tales of Kali-Ma the therapy cat. These tales include cat care tips, cat stories, and cat life lessons based on my life with Kali-Ma as part of a cat therapy team. I am a registered therapy animal owner, freelance copywriter, aspiring author, and lover of everything cats!

4 Comments

  1. Sheryl

    Another wonderful column! She’s a sweet and special soul.

    1. Thank you, Sheryl! I always appreciate you taking time to comment.

  2. Patricia

    How do train my cat to be a therapy cat? Do you have something that would help me!

    1. Hi Patricia. I just wrote a blog about it. You can read it here: https://www.tailsofkalima.com/cat-therapy-training-tips/ I hope this helps you and answers all of your questions. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Happy Tails to you!

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