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“Kitten Therapy” Arrives in Newtown, CT

  • December 27, 2012
  • 6:03 pm
“Kitten Therapy” Arrives in Newtown, CT

I shared the collective shock of the US when I heard about the tragedy that struck Newtown, Connecticut. I have a special connection to Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary School. That’s where Kitten Associates — the rescue group I adopted my beloved Kissy from — is located. The news was painful to watch; Facebook posts from friends throughout the day were heartbreaking enough.

When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised in a whole different way. Robin Olson and Sam Moore, who run Kitten Associates, had come up with an amazing idea: they would provide their traumatized hometown with a big dose of “kitten therapy” by opening their home-based rescue to children who needed a break from the pain, and also a reason to smile.†Kitties for Kids was born.

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They wanted their little visitors to have a reminder of the pleasant experience of playing with the kittens, so they started an Amazon wishlist to purchase plush cats for the children to take with them when they left. In just a couple of hours, every item on their wishlist had been purchased by people all over the country who love Kitten Associates and were hoping to find a meaningful way they could support the people of Newtown.

“We know the healing power that time spent petting a cat or watching kittens play with a toy can bring to a child, his or her parents, and even first responders and other adults who feel emotionally overwhelmed,” says Robin. “Because animals have no hidden agendas and kittens arenít threatening, itís a special kind of healing you just canít experience any other way.”

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Sheís right. I visited Robin and Sam on Thanksgiving, and their foster kitties provided me with that special kind of healing I needed after Kissyís sudden and unexpected death.

Hereís how the program works: Through January 31, children age four and older, accompanied by a responsible adult, can have half-hour one-on-one visits — by appointment — with the foster cats in Kitten Associatesí care. When they leave, each child will receive a plush cat toy. Kids who were especially affected will get a K.T. Cat, a super-soft, cuddly play and sleep mate designed to help children express their feelings. Younger children wonít be able to play with the cats, but they can get a free toy.

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News about Kitties for Kids spread through the blogosphere and quickly caught the attention of the national news media. Even the NBC TV affiliate in New York interviewed her about the program. If you want to see some cute cats and hear Robin explain Kitties for Kids in her own words, check out the video here.

Kitten Associates has donated a number of the plush kitty toys to the Newtown Animal Care & Control shelter, so it can do its own kind of “kitten therapy” work with the cats in its care.

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To find out more about Kitten Associates or make a donation, visit the website. Newtown and Sandy Hook residents can email or call 203-744-9CAT to make an appointment.

Iím incredibly proud of Robin and Sam — their grief is so profound that there’s no way I can even begin to imagine it, but so is their compassion.†Thank you both for reaching out to your beautiful community to provide a special kind of support to those who need it the most.

Photo Copyright © Robin A.F. Olson, used with permission

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Pets

This post was written by JaneA Kelley, regular contributor to Catster Magazine.

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11:07AM PST on Feb 19, 2013

Great but why not use older Shelter cats???? That would be much better!!! Thanks

2:52PM PST on Jan 13, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

9:22AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Cats always lift my spirits... both, my life companion kitties and the ones I meet along the way.

4:56AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Noted- thank you

8:11PM PST on Jan 2, 2013

This was such a great idea!

10:47AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

Fabulous idea! What a wonderful thing to do for the kids affected by this tragedy.

8:50AM PST on Jan 2, 2013

Animals can heal even the most broken of hearts and souls. They have no hidden agendas unlike some humans.

Thank you for an uplifting story.

1:19PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Geat idea!
Every city should have a Kitten therapy place!

12:45PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Just look at those!!! So adorable.

11:21AM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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