The Calming Effect of the Domestic Cat

It is my belief that some doctors can tend to find easy and formulaic solutions to health problems. In the case of children mental health problems that can mean drugs. There has been a quite startling increase in prescriptions for drugs that calm hyperactive children, particularly boys. This feels wrong to me. The classic condition that is treated by drugs is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We have read a lot about this. Are some of these children just boisterous kids? Perhaps too boisterous for their mum and she finds a way to make the task of bringing him up easier. That might sound a bit cynical but I am convinced that sometimes a modern parenting mentality – convenience and overindulgence – can lead to a desire to silence the boisterous child for the convenience of the parents. The doctor complies in prescribing drugs.

There are better ways but they require a bit more work and enlightenment. Another disorder that is often mentioned is autism. It is a disorder that is the result of a child’s brain not developing normally resulting in defective communication and social skills. The causes are unknown. There is always the possibility if misdiagnosing and prescribing drugs or treatments that are inappropriate. Also the child can be branded. It is life changer basically.

If the autism is a little vague in terms of symptoms would it not be better to treat a child that might have autism in a gentle and natural way? And what better or more gentle way that to bring in the services of a cat!

Cat helps a boy with autism and calms him
Bill and Fraser. Photo by Fraser’s parents.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Billy, a nice looking grey and white bicolor stray cat has transformed the life of Fraser an autistic four year old boy. Felines are great therapy animals for autistic children. Zachariah Atteberry should know. He wrote the article.

Billy was abandoned by his previous owner, left to wander around a council estate but eventually rescued by a charity (Cats Protection). Fraser was a difficult child because he become frustrated at day to day events leading to temper tantrums. Although he was receiving treatment for his autism when his parents took him to the Cats Protection adoption facility and he met Billy it was love at first sight.

Billy came over to Fraser and lay across Fraser with his paws on Fraser’s legs. When a rescue cat does that at an adoption center you know your cat companion has found you and chosen you.

They have been inseparable since and Fraser is a changed boy. Billy looks after Fraser. He calms him down and makes life more manageable. It seems that Billy can sense when Fraser is stressed and upset and he comes over to calm him. Fraser’s mum says that Fraser puts his head against Billy and feels his fur and hears his purr. This is all it takes to calm Fraser. It is a classic cat calming scenario. Cats are known to help this way. Another example is post operative treatments using the domestic cat as a calming influence.

Billy has not only had a hugely positive effect on Fraser he has also taken the stress out of the family. I am sure that autism or other child developmental issues can cause a lot of family disruption and tension. The simple and natural integration of a charming but totally ordinary (but special – they all are) domestic cat into the household turned everything around and at the same time saved a cat from a miserable life on the streets. It does not get more positive than that.

Let’s think out of the box on treating children with developmental problems. Animals are extremely therapeutic. We know that. We should use them a lot more. I hope that the Billy/Fraser story encourages others to try the same thing.

Associated post: A Therapy Cat Owner Is A Remarkable Individual

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