Altercare adds therapy cat to staff

| October 28, 2019

Parker, the therapy cat, poses with a resident at Altercare Coshocton. Contributed | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The latest addition to Altercare Coshocton’s therapy department has the purrfect personality for the job. Parker, a therapy cat, joined the team at the end of September.

“He was found in the parking lot by a resident’s family, who alerted staff they were concerned about him,” said Aimee Spillman, PTA/Facility Rehab Manager. “He was timid but friendly. They brought him back to therapy gym since I am an animal lover, and I got the idea we needed to keep him as a therapy cat.”

The facility’s administrator was called and he said the staff could keep the young cat if Spillman was responsible for him. Parker, who got his name because he was found in the parking lot, was taken to the animal shelter for shots and de-worming.

“We wanted to know if someone was looking for him, but they said we could keep him,” Spillman said.

Parker was then checked out by Dr. Catherine Darr from The Animal Medical & Surgical Center of Coshocton. They believe he is three to four months old.

“We told her our story and she donated her services to have Parker neutered and declawed (for resident safety),” Spillman said. “She will be following Parker and giving vaccines as needed as well. He’ll have free healthcare for his life.”

Parker has been with the facility for about three weeks now and is very loving and affectionate.

“He wants to be people’s companion,” Spillman said. “He will jump right up on them. The residents love having a pet and the company of an animal.”

Parker lives in the therapy room, but Spillman said they try to also take him to visit with residents.

“We have people who are long term residents and he will go to their rooms to visit,” she said. “He’s explored the whole building. If people are lying in their bed he will cuddle up with them.”

Spillman found research showing that therapy cats have a wide range of impact. They provide affection, comfort, companionship, relieve loneliness, and can help with depression. Cats also have been known to lower your risk of heart disease and their purring can help heal bones, tendons, and muscles.

“Everyone has gotten very involved with Parker,” Spillman said. “Aids brought him some cat toys and families will come to visit someone and want to come down here and see him.”

If someone is allergic to cats the staff can put Parker in an office and shut the door while they are in the therapy room.

“He (Parker) is really smart,” Spillman said. “He litter trained really quickly and he knows when it’s lunch time. He has dry food all the time, but lunch is when he gets wet food.”

Parker only weighed two and a half pounds when they first found him, but one of the perks of his new job is being well fed.

“He is super affectionate and really well behaved,” Spillman said. “Everyone loves him.”

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Category: Business

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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