Dementia Sufferer’s Therapy Cat Taken from Her

Dawn Douglas, a 66-year-old woman with dementia living at a care home, has had her therapy cat taken from her and in her cat’s place she has been given a robotic stuffed animal. She is devastated. “I want my cat back” she said on Wednesday. “They had no right taking my pet.” She is fighting for the return of her cat.

The home in which she is staying is the Sunridge Place care facility in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada. The story comes from CTV Vancouver Island.

Douglas said: “She loves me with all her heart and I know she’s missing me”. She has taken care of her therapy cat, Snoop, since she was a kitten. There will be a strong bond.

She moved into the private care home owned by Park Play Seniors Living in July 2016. Her sons were told by the administration of the home that the cat would be allowed to move in to the home under certain conditions. The conditions included that the cat’s shots were up-to-date and that Dawn Douglas would be responsible for cleaning up and managing the cat’s litter tray.

Within 24 hours of the cat moving into the home on February 10th of this year (I don’t understand the disparity in time frame) she received a phone call from the registered nurse that the cat had to be removed. Two days later employees of the care home went into her room and removed Snoop because one of her sons had refused to remove her. In Snoop’s place Douglas found a robotic stuffed cat sitting in her room.

She was told that the employees of the home were going to give the cat a bath and that she would get her back. She never did.

The vice president of quality assurance for Park Play Seniors Living, Linda Foley said that the cat was removed after an employee at the care home suffered an allergic reaction to the cat and was hospitalized. Comment: I have never heard of a person being hospitalized because they had an allergic reaction to a cat.

Foley went on to say: “The interim solution, they made arrangements to have the cat rehomed with a staff member that’s very loving and has promised to look after the cat while we work with the family”.

The care home said that they never gave permission to allow Snoop into the facility which doesn’t allow pets.

Subsequently, Dawn Douglas’s sons picked up Snoop from her temporary carer. They plan to keep on fighting to have the cat returned to her mother in the care home.

Comment: Who do you believe? Dawn Douglas said that she was given permission and I for one believe her and therefore it seems that the care home is backtracking because somebody screwed up and allowing the cat to stay in the home where there is a policy of no-pets. They should stick to their original promise. Indeed, there is a strong argument that a dementia patient at a residential care home should be allowed to retain their cat companion in the interests of the patient’s welfare and health. In other words the policy is incorrect but one can understand why it exists, which is that there is an inherent difficulty in managing cat companions in this sort of facility. And some residents would object.

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7 thoughts on “Dementia Sufferer’s Therapy Cat Taken from Her”

  1. In the US she could probably sue the facility for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act if a Doctor had certified that the cat is part of the patient’s treatment as an emotional support amimal. Also report them to a governing board over care facilities – I forget the name – for not following treatment protocol, elder abuse, abusing a disabled person, etc., there would be an investigation at the least. These facilities have come under intense scrutiny for abuse of patients recently, especially by staff members. It is abuse to replace the cat with a fake one for a disabled patient at the very least. The ACLU would be all over this. I would have them talking to my attorney, not asking nicely to get my cat back. They only understand loss of their pay checks. It is also just downright mean, so many black souls around now. I am sure the cat is very stressed also. If a cat gets too stressed they become seriously ill. Hope it is not too late for the poor cat too.

  2. I think these people should find a better home for their mother…one who takes cats which is happening more and more and more! The bottom line was probably money….these places will agree to anything to get people’s money and then think they can change the rules after you’ve gone to the trouble of moving in. Screw them! Get the mother and her cat out of there!! That cat is an emotional support companion for their mother and that is important to her condition.

  3. Heartbreaking & I hope they continue the fight. Thank heaven at least that the family recovered Snoop & she wasn’t otherwise disposed of by the facility. But if Dawn gets her back I would be worried for her safety in that hostile environment.

  4. No one moves into a care facility without a contract.
    Where is that and are there other pets in the facility ?
    Most senior living facilities in the US provide additional housekeeping at the resident/family expense.
    Lots of questions here. 24 hours is not sufficient time for a cat box to become offensive.
    Anyone that allergic to cats will have a reaction from visitors having cat dander on their clothing. If pets are allowed then anyone working there cannot expect to remain employed if they are allergic to animals that are allowed.

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