Therapy Kitties: A Year Later

recently i spent a weekend visiting with my parents, whom i’ve not seen in over a year, and got to enjoy plenty of not only with them but with Pickles, one of the two therapy kitties at their care facility, who pretty much spends the majority of her time in my parents room these days.

People greeter Stormy

People greeter Stormy

upon arrival at the facility, Stormy was just outside the front door to greet me.  Stormy is Pickle’s brother, and altho their colors are absolutely nothing alike, they share pretty much the same body shape: short and stout.  they also share the same personality trait: extremely affectionate.

Stormy greeted me as if not a single day had passed since the last time i’d seen him.  loving, affectionate and friendly, he rubbed against my feet that day, making it hard for me to leave him and go see the folks.  what can i tell ya?  i’m a sucker for charming young man!  (actually i really don’t know how young Stormy is, but i figure he’s about middle aged for a kitty).

gettin' Stormy love

gettin’ Stormy love

Stormy may perch outside of the facility in the hot afternoons, but he doesn’t go far.  more mobile residents will come outside and visit, enjoying the lovely day, and if they’re cat people, he graciously keeps them company.  it would seem intuitively, Stormy knows just exactly who to cuddle up to, and exactly what distance to keep with each individual resident.  not all residents are cat lovers, but it appears that he  sees the bigger picture; that keeping an eye on all the residents is his responsibility and not just the ones that adore his company.  even with the less adoring fans, it would seem that his company still makes a difference; someone is present; watching over them and because of that they know they matter.

that means alot to many of the residents of the nursing facility.  some of them have no family left; they are the last one.  or some of them have family who live far away, or who are so busy with their own lives, aren’t able to get over to visit as often as they should.  it’s a sad fact in our country, how the elderly get “lost”, and because of my own inability to visit more, i’m ever so grateful for these therapy kitties.

i reluctantly untangled myself from Stormy, and made my way thru the care facility’s doors

there are presently two major wings in the nursing home where my parents stay.  the north hall and the south hall.  Stormy took charge of the north, while Pickles was on duty in the south hall which I now made my way down to the end of, where my parents room was located.  they didn’t know i was coming as i had wanted to surprise them.  surprise them i did.

my mom was awake in her chair and recognized me instantly while my dad was presently napping.  of course, the reaction is very toned down when your parents are elder, and frail, but i was sooo happy to see them both!  i made myself comfortable while me and mom chatted.

dad eventually woke up, but the foggyness of his sleep held on.  he didn’t recognize me and kept thinking I was my older sister; asking me about her work and her husband, of course to which i had to keep on reminding him that i was lu anne his youngest.  oh the pains of not seeing them for so long!  this is the sort of thing that happens when your parents reach a certain age, and you aren’t able to visit nearly as much as you would like.  it killed me.

i was able to spend a decent amount of time over two days with them, tho, and eventually came to see that they had fully settled in to their new “home” as well as developing the comfort of daily routines.

swwet Pickles

sweet Pickles

as i continued to visit with them, Pickles wondered in and jumped on my mom’s bed.  a bird feeder was attached to the window, and she took her “bird feeder patrol” very seriously.  these birds had to be quick if they were going to get much seed.  Pickles would dash to the window in attempts to get at them, of course, never successful, but when not in the window watching, would curl up on mom’s bed and sleep, purring, cuddling against me, and encouraging pets.

shortly after arrival at the home, my sisters had put in a request that Pickles feeding bowls be moved into my parents room if they weren’t currently in anyone else’s.  Pickles was already spending a significant amount of time in their room, and it just seemed like the natural progression of things to feed her there.

she’s an adorable kitty, and conversation moved to her and her slight resemblance to grumpy cat.  we then moved on to li’l bub both cats which my parents knew nothing about.  it’s amazing.  not only do these kitties provide therapeutic company for the residents, but even assist with stimulating conversation!

you have to admit there is a resemblance!

you have to admit there is a resemblance!

i googled grumpy cat and li’l bub on my phone for them to see what they kitties looked like.  “oh my! how funny!” my mom commented.  a sparkle of light popping into her eyes as she smiled.  it was so good to see her so animated!

the evening grew late, and both of my parents were noticeably exhausted.  i took leave and reminded them i’d be back the next day.  my mom sighed and hugged me good night.  dad had already passed out, and Pickles was curled up on mom’s bed sound asleep!

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