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Nursing Home And Animal Shelter Team Up To Make Life Beautiful For Everyone

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When kittens are separated from their mothers at early ages, their chances of survival are low if no one else steps in to provide them with care. This is something that the folks at the Pima County Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona, knew all to well.

At the same time, the folks working at Catalina Springs Memory Care facility, which specializes in seniors living with memory issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, knew that residents needed stimulation and connection in order to stay both mentally and physically healthy. Without something to do or someone to spend time with, they could lapse into health-threatening depression.

And that’s why the two organizations, which you might not think had much in common, were actually a match made in heaven.

The two teamed up to pair orphaned kittens with senior volunteers who fed, played with, and cared for the kittens. So, the kittens got care and socialization, and the residents got to spend some time cuddling a tiny baby kitty. If that’s not a win-win, we don’t know what is!

The first two kittens to join the program were named Peaches and Turtle, who were young and underweight, weighing just seven ounces each, and were soon being bottle fed and cuddled by the residents.

And while cuddling is great, playing with and caring for the kittens is also good for the residents in a very real, health-based way. It stimulates their minds and gets them interacting and socializing, plus it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you have a cat on your lap!

[H/T: Metro]

The residents of the Catalina Springs Memory Care facility are enjoying playing foster moms and dads to rescue kittens.

Without the care of their mothers, baby kittens’ chances of survival is very low, and they require constant care. At Catalina Springs, they get bottle feedings and lots of cuddles.

The first two cats to join the program were sisters Peaches and Turtle. Here, Turtle is spending some time with Alexander “Jerry” Petrie.

“To some it may seem peculiar at first,” says Catalina Springs executive director Sharon Mercer, “residents who are in need of round-the-clock care themselves, given the task to care for these young kittens.”

“But there are skills, emotions, and needs that do not just leave a person [who has] dementia or Alzheimer’s,” Mercer says. “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.”

Hanging out with cats has also been shown to relieve stress, and resident John Claude Collinet certainly looks content to feed Turtle.

The kittens will be cared for by the residents, like Marion Jane Nelson, seen here with Peaches, until they are big enough to be spayed, and then will be placed up for adoption.

As a bonus, the cats will already be used to hanging out with humans, which will make their transition into their new homes all the easier.

Being around the cats also provides the mental stimulation that is so good for the resident’s minds and well-being.

Thelma Bradfield is 97 and struggling with memory issues, but while playing with Peaches, she had no trouble remembering growing up on a farm.

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

Ever since coming to Catalina Springs, Peaches and Turtle have doubled in weight, and are having a wonderful time with all their new friends.

And while they’ll be put up for adoption, it seems like they might become more permanent fixtures, as one of the nurses has agreed to adopt one of them, and it’s hoped that more kittens will be coming through to spend some time with the kind people at Catalina Springs.

Would you like to bottle-feed a kitty? Let us know, andSHARE this story with all the cat people you know!

Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/seniors-saving-kittens/

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