Southsea cat starts as first Pets as Therapy cat for youngsters with life limiting illnesses

YOUNGSTERS with life limiting illnesses got a special visit from their hospice’s first Pets as Therapy cat.

By Millie Salkeld
Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 10:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 11:02 am
Cocoa the Cat visiting the children at Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices.
Cocoa the Cat visiting the children at Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices.

Cocoa was brought along to Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices by her owner Isabel, who lives in Southsea, and it was the pair’s first time on PAT Cat duty.

Isabel decided to register Cocoa as a therapy cat after taking her to visit her grandma, who loved cats, in an adults’ hospice and Cocoa would happily sit on her grandma’s lap whilst being stroked.

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Cocoa the Cat visiting the children at Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices.

After seeing the joy and calming presence Cocoa had, and after her grandma sadly passed away at the beginning of 2019, Isabel wanted to share Cocoa’s soothing nature with others who would really benefit, and their Pets as Therapy journey began.

Isabel said: ‘It was always so rewarding seeing the difference she made to my Grandma, and so it was such a wonderful experience seeing her have the same effect on the children at Naomi House.

‘Everyone seemed to love Cocoa. She was very relaxed, sat on all the children’s laps and beds. All of the children were aware she was there and reacted positively to her being on or near them.

‘We will be visiting once a month from now on and really look forward to it each time.’

Therapy animals have been scientifically proven to ease stress, reduce blood pressure and anxiety and increase self-esteem and confidence in those with life limiting or life threatening conditions.

Naomi House & Jacksplace is the only hospice offering a 24/7, 365 days a year service for life limited and life threatened children, young adults and families living in Hampshire,Wiltshire, Berkshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, West Sussex and Surrey.

Staff provide individualised nursing care that helps to enhance short lives and allows 600 local families to make the most of their precious time

with their children.

The state of the art building includes spaces for music therapy, art and messy play, a multi-sensory room, a hydrotherapy pool and dedicated spaces for end of life care and post-bereavement support.