Wait, therapy cats? Yes, indeed, so we caught up with Karen Thompson, and Tabby the therapy cat, to find out more about the who’s and what’s of Therapy Felines; what I-CAT is doing to help, and why it matters so much.
Karen, your team launched a Go Fund Me appeal for I-CAT. Who are I-CAT and why have you launched this appeal :-
Sure! We are a group of therapy cat teams who have banded together to create the first ever feline-specific therapy organization. I-CAT’s mission is to increase the number and influence of therapy cats worldwide through education, networking, and advocacy. To do this, we are raising funds for the application process to be a non-profit organization. Once we become a non-profit, we will be able to create feline-assisted therapy training materials, teach facilities about the benefits of cat-assisted therapy, and register cat teams.
You are aiming to be a non-profit group, can you explain what that means to non-USA folk?
Being a non-profit means that I-CAT could receive grants and accept tax-deductible donations in the future. Gaining non-profit status would also allow our educational programs to have a farther reach because money would be used for developing materials and training new teams rather than paying for employees’ salaries.
You look as though you have a committed team established for I-CAT
Yes, we do. Our board of members includes a certified animal trainer, a web designer, and a teacher, to name a few. We have members from Connecticut, Illinois, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia.
Where can our readers find you online?
- Our website is here
- Facebook friends can Like us here
- Our GoFundMe donation site and informational video are here
We love the idea of Therapy Cats, and we know young Waffles from Glogirly’s blog is proud to be a Therapy Cat in training. Why is this fundraiser important to you?
Waffles is fortunate that Glogirly is friends with Spaghetti-Bob and his mom, an experienced cat-assisted therapy team. There are a lot of kitties out there who would make excellent therapy cats, if only their people knew how to get started with this work. Many of us who are part of I-CAT had to adapt dog-training materials or small-animal training materials to fit our therapy cat’s needs.
Once we can train and register teams, we will be able to develop cat-specific training materials so that therapy cat teams can have the same access to species-specific training materials that therapy dog teams have. This will boost the overall quality of therapy cat visits once teams are trained and start going to facilities.
Thank you Karen, for sharing this tremendous idea. OK guys, c’mon now, let’s head over and give this tremendous idea the support it deserves! We have donated $25 to the appeal in honour of Sparklecat. Summer, coming to the Sparkle blog, is a Therapy Cat in training.
Meet the Therapy Cats in the I-CAT video