A week ago the closing of restaurants and cafes FINALLY came to an end in my city. One of the places I wished to visit was the cat cafe a few blocks away from my home. The first time going there after the lockdown, I spotted a peculiar cat; scruffy looking partially shaved fur, a squished face and no confidence, he was guarded. The owner told us that his name was Soren, meaning “stern” in Danish. Soren was locked in a coal shed and abused horribly for months before he was rescued by the cafe owner. He jumped on my chair and looked at me, I reached my finger out to greet him but he was naturally not used to safe human contact so he scratched me and left.
A vaccinated and clean cat’s scratch with proper cleaning won’t cause any harm so I knew I was OK. The owner however felt sorry but I really had no problem, super normal reaction for a cat with PTSD. Then we talked a bit more and they told me that Soren was seeing a pet therapist. Essentially, they give him medication that acts similar to anti-depressants and they slowly try to encourage safety. Unless he got better, they would have to move him to a shelter or a clinic (help needed urgently).
I did not know much about therapy for animals/animal therapists and I still don’t (apart from a few internet articles I checked before writing this and, no Cesar Millan is NOT one of them!). I wanted to share what I witnessed and heard from them.
The process works similar to some forms of human therapy. The animal is shown a different perspective on what caused the trauma; in this case, his perspective on humans was negative but through therapy he can see the possibility of being safe with humans. This is usually done through positive reinforcement techniques and medication, basically by rewarding when he shows signs of trust to a human. Of course, this takes lots of time, patience effort and an infinite amount of delicious cat food! From what I saw, the therapist was adapting the methods according to the cats’ boundaries and needs. Not acting as an “owner” of them and their healing process is something I was very happy to see especially considering the extremely cruel ways of training dogs.
A few days after that visit I heard that Soren is showing great improvement. He now plays with other cats and even tries to connect with the people working there. Not all furry friends need a therapist of course, this was an extreme and urgent case. Though we can always make use of right communication for rather simple issues. I find Jackson Galaxy’s tips very helpful for me and my friend Fanfin. Here you can find some content creators that I love and educate myself through.
What are YOUR thoughts on this? Do you have any knowledge or experience on such things? Share anything you like and let’s have a chat in the comments below! Until next time, snifz yuz!