Dementia and kittens

I can haz feelings.

Catalina Springs Memory Care in Oro Valley, Arizona, has teamed up with Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) for a new program where abandoned newborn kittens are brought to the facility so residents can care for them. The kittens get the critical care they need to survive, and residents get to bottle feed, play with and dote over them.

Everybody wins.

"To some, it may seem peculiar at first: Residents who are in need of around-the-clock care themselves, given the task to care for these young kittens," said Executive Director Sharon Mercer in a PACC news release. "But there are skills, emotions and needs that do not just leave a person with dementia or Alzheimer's.

"The desire to give love and receive love remains. The kittens have given us the opportunity to nurture this human condition that lies in each and every one of our residents."

Catalina Springs resident Thelma Bradfield cared for the kittens and reminisced.

“We had 19 cats,” she said. “We fed them in the barn. This one’s a little baby and needs a bottle.”

The first two kittens, littermates Peaches and Turtle, have nearly doubled in weight in the month since they've arrived and are reportedly happy and healthy. “Without a foster, these kittens would haven’t made it,” said Karen Hollish, spokesperson for PACC. “And not only are they surviving, they are thriving.”  Once they're fully grown, they'll be placed for adoption. The organizations plan to continue the program, which arose from a Catalina Springs' employee who fosters kittens herself. 

Read more: Animal comforts


Topics: Activities , Alzheimer's/Dementia