Should Cats Be Allowed To Live In Nursing Homes?

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Should cats be allowed to live in nursing homes? I wrote an article on a cat named Oscar awhile back (that article is located here), and this topic has once again been laid on my lap. It concerns the Burquitlam Lions Care Centre (BLCC) located in Coquitlam, British Columbia.

THE SITUATION WITH THE BURQUITLAM CATS

Burquitlam Lions Care Center has a website at www.burquitlamlionscare.com where they list “pet therapy” as part of the treatment offered at the center. The website boasts about the six cats who live in the nursing home, and visitors are encouraged to bring well mannered dogs to visit with the residents. The six cats remaining at this nursing home have been there for quite a few years now. Some even sleep with the elderly residents who love the cats and the companionship the cats provide. The photo I submitted for this article was taken from the Burquitlam Facebook page and was posted in early December.

Photo of Burquitlam Lions Care Centre resident cat

Photo of Burquitlam Lions Care Centre resident cat

Unfortunately, the nursing home is under new management, where David Dines, administrator, is allegedly trying to have the cats removed from the home. This is where things get complicated. After hearing about this case, I decided to do a little online investigation on this unfortunate issue.

I located an article on Examiner by Michele Gwynn. Michele has tried on several occasions to obtain a detailed statement from Mr. Dines, who told her “you have been misinformed.” Family members of residents are receiving this same response when they ask whether the cats will be allowed to stay or whether they’ll be kicked out. No other information is available either accusing Dines of trying to force the cats out, or to say this is all one big mistake. Much of the information available comes from resident family members who sat in on administrative meetings concerning the removal of the cats.

CARING FOR THE CATS

These six resident cats all receive free veterinary care, and a cat food company has offered to provide free cat food and cat litter for life. In other words, BLCC won’t have to spend anything for the lifetime care of the cats.

One report I located stated David Dines is saying the cats have to go because they’re sick. Those with family living in the nursing home, who also love to visit with the cats, say the cats are NOT sick at all. The new management is also reported to have removed birds and plants from the nursing home.

SHOULD CAT LIVE IN NURSING HOMES?

It’s already been proven the positive health benefits petting a companion animal provides. Stroking a cat lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate, and has a calming effect.

The only concerns I can think of as to why cats shouldn’t be in nursing homes would be the risk of a resident on blood thinners being scratched by one of the cats. Or if a resident is allergic to cats. The issue of allergies would be easy to handle by not allowing cats into that particular room.

Keep in mind that many of the residents most likely had a companion cat or dog at home. I don’t know the percentage for BLCC, but most elderly residents are there for life, unless it’s only for short term rehabilitation such as after breaking a hip. Those living in the nursing home for life will never EVER have another chance to love a cat. I think it’s horrible for anyone to take these cats away from the residents who have come to love them.

My own mother lived in a nursing home the last three years of her life. I remember the excitement when she’d look out her bedroom window and see a cat wandering in the flower garden.

Please remember it’s not the family members who are trying to rid the home of the cats. They’re trying to save them. Part of their efforts are in starting the petition below asking BLCC to allow the cats to stay.

HOW YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE CATS

A petition is here.

David Dines, BLCC Administrator, can be reached at ddines@burquitlamlionscare.com

Perhaps it would be best when contacting Mr. Dines to praise him on the keeping of the cats as cat therapy rather than accusing him of any wrongdoing.

AM I MISSING ANYTHING?

Does anyone have any updated information on the cats at Burquitlam? Comments, anyone? How do the readers feel about allowing cats to live inside the nursing home and sleep with the residents?

Elisa

Facebook Discussion

Comments

Should Cats Be Allowed To Live In Nursing Homes? — 7 Comments

  1. Why is there always somebody who has the energy to be all anti when it comes to cats. Its often the case that everybody is living together happily and sustainably and then some a** h*le comes along and wants to get rid of them. What part on the universe had to make this annoying rule. I would like to get rid of those people. I think the cats deserve to be anywhere they want to be alot more than the 2 bit analogue cat haters who actually have the energy to make a mess of everything. Free vet care and free food and litter and a bunch of happy residents who probably even choose to go there because fo the cats being there, maybe, and why then, does there have to be a hater. The haters always are in positions of power too. That just goes to show you what qulifications you need to do well in our stupid society. I agree with Michael, euthanise the haters and killers.

    Sorry Elisa – I knowits not a very constructive comment and your article is well informed and seems very balanced. I’m just a grumpy s*d about hearing yet another story of cats in paradise being booted by some stupid executive.

  2. Elisa I’ve signed.

    Its awful that one man can decide to take away these peoples feline friends. Why is he allowed to continue in this role when he clearly lacks compassion and understanding thats what I would like to know I bet he’s a cat hater.

    This happened to me and it was awful. When my dear mom (God rest her soul) had to move into residential care due to the onset of Alzheimers she was allowed to take her cat, Treacle with her. They both settled really well and Treacle was loved by the staff and residents alike. He would often be curled up in someones lap, on a chair or in the knitting basket.

    6 months on my moms condition got worse and she had to move where she couldn’t take Treacle so I asked that if I continued to provide food, pay vets bills etc could he stay where everyone loved him and where he had settled as he was good for the residents. The answer was no. I was so upset as he had already been through so much leaving his home, his mom ending up not the mom he knew then leaving this place that he had got used to 🙁

    Eventually my cousin Sue adopted him and he spent a few happy years with her before he died (I couldn’t take him due to already having 3 cats).

    When we picked him up from the home Sue and I both cried because of the reactions and cries of the residents they were distraught!, one elderly lady cried ‘oh no please don’t take Treacle I love him!’ I’m crying now just thinking of it 🙁

    In answer to your question YES! Every care home should have at least one friendly cat!

  3. I signed the petition too and shared it on Facebook. Thanks for listing contact information for Mr. Dines in your article. I wonder if he hasn’t simply underestimated the importance of the cats to the residents. Maybe it’s he who is allergic since he seems to have removed other living things in the nursing home. I have no idea what his rationale is, but I do think it would be very wrong for both the cats and the residents to remove the cats. If the families and the reporter are both “misinformed” perhaps Mr. Dines should be invited to provide the correct information?

  4. I signed the it as well. I was #2,193! We’re almost there! There needs to be more places with cats (and dogs) to give nursing home tenants that special unconditional love they really need when recovering from major surgery or living out their finally days.

  5. David Dines must be a cold hearted cat hater nor does he care about the mental health of the residents who love the cats living there.
    I’ve signed the petition and shared it, there are 2405 signatures now which I think shows the strength of feeling about cat companions in Nursing homes.
    If I get ancient and all alone and end up in a Nursing home or Care home I’d like to think there would be cats around, to cat lovers the thought of life without them is unthinkably depressing.

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