CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – Research shows spending quality time around animals may have significant health and emotional benefits in humans.
In light of this, Cedar Rapids Animal Care Control is now reviving its cat companions program to make sure cats and seniors can reap the benefits from each other. The program started back in 2011 when Cedar Rapids Citizen John Schenken wanted to help make sure seniors looking for companionship were able to get it.
“There were so many unwanted cats and he had an affinity for all animals, but he wanted to see as many of them matched together as possible. He actually started the program by contributing some funds,” Animal Care and Control Director Diane Webber said.
Those funds helped to get the program off the ground. Schenken recently passed away and his family started memorial fund to keep the program going. The shelter provides the cat for adoption along with basic care needs including a spay or neuter and all needed vaccinations. The fund provides all of the necessary things to give a cat a loving home such as litter boxes, toys, and a bag of food.
“Seniors need that companionship, there have been a lot of studies done over the years that have shown that senior citizens benefit from the companionship of a pet. It not only lowers there blood pressure, but it gives them a reason to get up in the morning,” Webber said. “It gives them something to do with their time, it does give them that companionship and a lot of times it opens up that opportunity for conversation with neighbors and family it gives them something to talk about as well. It’s just a win win all the way around for the pet and for the senior citizen.”
The program is available only for seniors 65 and older. Documentation regarding a pet policy is required for those who are living in a condo or apartment.
What a wonderful idea!