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Foster Kitten’s Gentle Nature Leads to Pet Therapy Work

By PetcoFoundation on Mar. 16, 2017

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Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Patty Guthrie won Town Cats of Morgan Hill in Morgan Hill, California a 2016 Holiday Wishes award. 

In 2007, after losing my 17-year-old black cat, I agreed to foster a litter of kittens from Town Cats of Morgan Hill to cheer up the household.

“Only two or three,” I told the shelter. “No black kittens.”

I ended up with six black kittens. They were born in a winery and needed more time and more socialization before adoption. At five-weeks-old, the biggest kitten was 26 ounces. He had long fur and tufts in his ears. He looked like a Main Coon mix.

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The remaining five kittens got adopted, but the big boy kitten, now named Mokey, found a new home with me.

From the very beginning, I was amazed at how gentle Mokey was with people. Having worked with therapy pets, I started taking him places, training him to a harness and leash, and getting him used to all sizes of dogs and all types of people.

He is now nine-years-old and over 16 pounds. He still works with two different pet therapy groups. He has visited foster homes, convalescent homes, the Ronald McDonald House, libraries (where children read to him), high schools and colleges (for stress relief) and many more places. He makes eight to 12 visits a month. He travels in a stroller and gets out to cuddle in beds or the laps of the people he visits.

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Here is some feedback from our therapy visits.

“I used to be scared of black cats, but he is adorable,” said an 11-year-old girl in a thank you note. She appeared frightened of Mokey at first, but within 20 minutes was holding him in her lap. Mokey listened to her read a story at the library.

“I love cats. I haven’t held a cat in years,” said the resident of a home for people with disabilities as she cried on Mokey’s fur.

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“We can’t have cats here in the foster home,” said a teenaged girl. She petted Mokey in her lap for an hour.

“I miss my kitty,” said a little girl at a Ronald McDonald House while petting Mokey. “We had to leave him behind when we came here to stay with my brother.”

As you can see, Mokey has touched the lives of hundreds of people. He’s made more than 350 therapy visits over the past nine years. Mokey is my best pal and my dearest friend.

Learn more about the Petco Foundation by visiting www.petcofoundation.org.


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