More people should consider cats as therapy for people with special needs. Billy the cat and Fraser the autistic boy are an excellent example.
Five year old Fraser Booth is autistic. His anxieties and tantrums spoiled his life and his prospects in life. His parents were told that he would never attend mainstream school. Billy did make his first day at mainstream school. It was thanks to Billy, a bicolor grey and white cat rescued from a council house1 two years ago.
Fraser hated having his hair washed in the bath. It was impossible. Billy put his paws on the side of the bath and this calmed Fraser. Hair washing become an OK thing.
Meal times were stressful and times for tantrums. Billy sat beside him and calmed Fraser. Less stress, less tantrums. More eating. Bedtimes were flashpoints. Now there are less flashes and more snoozes thanks to Billy.
Two specific things soothe Fraser:
- Billy presses his head against Fraser’s (this is probably scent exchange head butting) and
- Billy’s purr. Fraser likes to lie close to Billy with his head next to Billy so he can hear his purr. This is the famous power-of-the-purr working its magic again and in a very charming and beautiful way. The purr is said to heal because of its frequency.
This is a magical story of the power of the puss. Purrrrfection. Therapy cats are well known at hospitals and hospices. This is an example of full-time around the clock cat therapy that has had a dramatically positive effect on the life of a special needs boy.
And there is also the beauty of the relationship itself. What a wonderful sight it is. Close companions, one helping the other.
- For international visitors “council house” means a house owned by the local government and rented out below market value.
- The photo is copyright Bruce Adams and taken from the Sunday Times. If anyone wishes to complain please contact me and I’ll respond quickly.
- A book is due to be published next month: When Fraser Met Billy: The Rescue Cat that Transformed a Little Boy’s Life.