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Monday, December 19, 2016

Professional Lap Cat

We told all of our furiends that they should prepare their tissues for this post. It's a short post but we'll wait a minute for you to grab one, just in case....

You're back already? Ok.

Mum and I do my therapy kitty visits almost every Sunday and we've been going to the ElderPlace Glendoveer here in Portland, Oregon for a while now (we love the people there, they're our friends too!). Mum loads me into my special kitty booster seat so I'm all safe, we stop and get her some coffee, and away we go!


Recently, one of our favorite humans there fell and got hurt so she had to go to a nursing and rehabilitation center a few miles down the road. When we found out that she would be there for a while, Mum found out where she was and got permissions for us to visit her in the new place. Our friend was SO happy when we walked in to see her and we've been visiting her each week too. You see, kitty visits are very helpful in healing and this is one of our favorite humans. She's about 658 in kitty years but she still laughs and remembers me every week!

Recently, Mum gave some of the people at the new place some of my cards. Yes, I have business cards... Doesn't every professional therapy kitty? Anyway, she told them if we could ever help someone out to please call. A few days ago, they did!

When we went in to visit yesterday, Mum and I stopped and talked to the lady who called. Get those tissues ready... It turns out that there is someone VERY special at this place. Mum says that he just got something called a "terminal diagnosis."  They told him that he could have anything he wanted and asked what that would be... To be covered in puppies? All the cake and ice cream he wanted? What? He said that all he wanted was a cat on his lap.

THAT'S WHEN THEY CALLED ME!

We can't tell you his real name but we call him Sly. We got to meet him yesterday. He has the nicest smile and the kindest dark eyes! I sat on his lap for the longest time yesterday.... He has a good lap and pets very well so I purred really, REALLY loud for him. Before we left that place yesterday, we stopped and talked to the lady that asked us to visit Sly and thanked her. Mum said that as long as he was alive, he would have a kitty for his lap, me.


I can't wait to go back and love on Sly. He knows how to love back really well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Lights... Camera... THERAPY CAT!

Recently, Mum sent a note to a local TV station and said that a VERY special animal lived here in Portland.  She was talking about me!  Well, guess what?  One of the shows at KATU-TV ABC called Mum and asked if I'd like to be on TV!  Mum got to come along of course, although I was the real star as you'll be able to see here...

http://katu.com/afternoon-live/special-guests/basil-the-therapy-cat

I wonder if I should get an agent now?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Why I'm a Therapy Cat

If you've been following my blog, you can tell that being a therapy kitty can be hard work.  There was lots of training, evaluations, learning, trips, and there's those baths!   Now that I'm officially a therapy cat, there's still more training sometimes, car rides, and even more baths.  Mum takes time on her weekends and after work for us to go places too.



So why do it?  Let me tell you a little bit about yesterday...

Almost every Sunday, we visit a place here in Portland which is part of the Providence ElderPlace system.  Mum and I have been going there for over a month now and our friends look forward to seeing us each week almost as much as we look forward to seeing them!  A lot of our friends there have memory issues of varying degrees.  Sometimes we have the same conversations with them each week but they are so warm, friendly, and funny, that's all that matters.

I can't use names for privacy reasons but there is one, we'll call her "M."  She is completely sweet, innocent, and funny - she likes mystery novels "But nothing too bloody."  Yesterday, when we were visiting in her room, we started talking that some of the residents there have pets.  She said that sometimes, she just wants to pick them up and hold them close.  Mum asked if she would like to hold me.  Her face lit up as she said "Could I?"  Mum put my special blanket on her chest and put me in her arms.  M had a stroke years ago and only really has one really good arm but she managed to hold on to me with Mum's help.  I liked it...  I stretched my head up and rubbed it against M's cheek, she put her head down next to me and I purred SO LOUD that you could tell I was happy.  I closed my eyes and just let her pet me.  She smiled and looked at Mum, "I can hear her purr."

We stayed like that and she pet me for a really long time and she talked with Mum.  I was in no hurry to go anywhere.  After a while, we did have to go so that M could go to lunch.  As we were walking out of her room, Mum assured her that we would be back and M said "Good! Nobody comes to visit me."  Mum said "Don't worry, we will."

That's why I'm a therapy cat.


Friday, September 30, 2016

They really, really like me!

Last weekend was a pretty big deal...  At the Portland Expo Center they had a cat show and I was in it!  Look, I got my name in a book saying I was there and everything!  Although, they got part of it wrong...  I am officially a "red mackerel tabby and white."  That's the fancy name for a ginger tabby tux.



Mum went there the day before and set up all the stuff that she had made for me to have a beautiful space and be comfortable.  I think she did a good job!




I got a very thorough bath on Friday night and we all had to get up really early on Saturday to be there in time.  You wouldn't believe how many other kitties were there - over 200 in total!  There were over 30 in the Household Pets CATegory that I was in - and I had to compete against every one of them.  *cue theme music from the movie Rocky*

The way that cat shows work is that you get judged at least once by EVERY JUDGE PERSON at the show.  Let me tell you, that's a lot of judge.  Most kitties don't know quite what to do the first time in a show so sometimes they get really scared, hiss and scratch at the judge person, run off the table, just freeze up, or worse!  It's kind of unusual for a new cat to do well at shows. Mum took me to my first judge or "ring" and I was ready.  Mum was more nervous than I was.  Guess what?




The judge man human picked me as his tenth best cat in the show among all of the Household Pet kitties!  It was good but I allowed him a little room for improvement since we'd never met before.

In between going to SIX judging rings and all of the visiting humans, I got pet by over ONE HUNDRED people in the whole day!  Mum and I talked to all of them about what being a therapy kitty is like and some want to become one possibly.  Lots of people made me purr and if they did, they got a "I got purred!" sticker.




By the end of the day, four out of the six judge humans picked me to be in the top ten best cats in the show (in the Household Pet CATegory anyway) and a few of them couldn't believe it was my first show because I did so well and was so comfortable with everything.  The pink ribbon was my best for the day - SEVENTH PLACE!  I liked that judge a lot and had fun with her.




By the end of the day, I was one tired girl but I made SO MANY new friends.  A person from someplace called the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association mom says) even asked me to come represent them at a really big animal show called the Portland Pet Expo on October 15 & 16.  Mum said that we would be only if I could represent therapy kitties too!  They said "Yes."




All in all, it certainly was an adventure for this therapy cat.  If you'd like to see what it was like to be judged at the show, visit my Facebook page and watch the videos.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What happens if...?!

We had a slightly traumatic experience yesterday, although Mum says I'm exaggerating.  Each one of us got poked in the back and had something called a microchip put under our skin.  Mum said it was necessary for all of my fursibs but especially me since I leave the house on a regular basis.  

Some interesting things about lost pets...
  •  The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year.
  • One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, including 53 animal shelters across the U.S., confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration. From the study:
    • Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase).
    • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38 percent (more than 2,000 percent better). 
    • Only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information.
Now, Mum is really careful about making sure that we are always safe but sometimes, things happen that are out of her control. So yesterday, we all got chipped AND registered.  Microchipping your furkids might be the only thing that could help bring them home in an emergency.  Once you do that step, YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE TO UPDATE THE INFORMATION ON THE ACCOUNT anytime you move, get a new phone number, new vet, or anything along those lines.

Microchipping doesn't have to be expensive and can be as little as $5 per pet.  There are chip registries that are FREE.
So please, if you love your furkids as much as our mum loves us, chip 'em!  This isn't about the emergencies you can imagine or control but the ones that you can't.  Bring your kids home and keep them safe.
Resources - Links:
Chips (if you do it yourself, PLEASE talk to your vet or someone who knows what they are doing before inserting a microchip!).  If you aren't comfortable and know what you're doing, find a clinic or get your pet chipped by your vet (usually about $10-15).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It happened!

Hi everyone!  Guess what?  Yesterday, I had my first, honest to Ceiling Cat, official visit as a therapy kitty!

Mum gave me a bath the night before, so my kitty sense told me that something was up.  Yesterday morning was like normal until I had to put on my harness.  Then, I KNEW I was going somewhere!

It wasn't the longest drive that I ever had to take but it was more than usual.  We got to a place that smelled different than anyplace I'd ever been before, like there was a lot of history and people that needed me too.  Mum said it was called Glendoveer ElderPlace in Portland.  We went inside and waited for a lady to show show us around as she introduced me to some very nice people.

Kitties sometimes get some grey furs when they get older and apparently, humans do too.  There was a lot of grey fur here but the people were so nice!  One lady stopped and just admired me but said she couldn't touch me because of something called allergies.  I don't like allergies... She did say that I was very beautiful and sweet.  She is obviously very wise and observant, even if she couldn't feel how soft I am.

I have to say that even though everyone liked me and thought I was sweet and beautiful...  I think I have a favorite human there.  She was very nice and funny, and from someplace called Australia.  I got to sit on a blanket on her lap for a long time.  She petted me while she and Mum talked about that place.  She knew how to pet really well so I just curled up on her lap and purred.  That was the best part of the visit.

I think I'm going to like this therapy kitty thing....

Mum here.  Basil was amazing yesterday!  With the exception of a few very large, very loud delivery trucks we encountered on our way in, she was the picture of furry perfection and love given this was her first visit.  To say that I'm proud of her would be an understatement.  She was VERY curious and a little eager to check things out when we arrived but I know that she'll get better with each visit.  And yes, I believe that we have a favorite human at this location. She fell in love with Basil and the feeling was mutual.  I enjoyed that part of the visit and hearing about Sydney Australia - and how it was 80 years ago.  I promised to bring back modern day pictures of Sydney next weekend since she hasn't been back in over 20 years.

I think I'm going to enjoy this therapy kitty thing too...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Family time!

When I asked Mum to put up this blog for me, I promised that I would introduce you to my fursibs and Mum made me promise that I would share... sometimes.  So I figured that since I haven't posted in a few days, I would start the introductions and begin with my brother Mack.

Now, Mack isn't just another ginger kitty that I share the house with, he's my real live, honest to catnip brother!  I mean like, we came from the same cat mom and dad even!  Some fursibs that come from the same litter have the same mom but can have different dads (like Squeak and Terra, you'll meet them later).  There is no denying that Mack and I share both cat parents!  We were found in a field when we were even too tiny to be away from out cat mom.  The vet didn't think either of us would live, especially Mack.  Sadly, our brother Tomat, didn't make it and MUm buried him in a very special place.

This is us taking a nap the other day - Mack is on the right and that's me wondering why he has his paw on me, on the left. 

Mum calls Mack a "volleyball with legs" cuz he's kinda rolly-polly but she also admits that he's awfully sweet and loving!  I hate it when she's right...

One thing that nobody has been able to deny is that good looks run in the family.  Mack got his name because he purrs like a Mack truck and with lady killer handsomeness going on, what's not to love!  Even if he is a brother...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

We're official!

Mum:  Hey Basil, wake up!


Basil:  You do realize you're disturbing my beauty rest?


Mum:  I know honey but you're already SO beautiful and I have good news!  You know how we have been waiting on soft beds and sun puddles (would you expect pins and needles from a cat...)?

WE ARE OFFICIALLY A 
REGISTERED PET THERAPY TEAM!

I got an email with the letter today and everything from Pet Partners.  This means that we can begin going to care facilities and stuff as a real, honest to Ceiling Cat, therapy kitty team!


Basil:  We're official?  Cool!  I'm ready for my close-up now...


Mum here again:  While Basil seldom gets excited about much, I'm tickled ginger about this news!  We've been working very hard and Basil is always amazing.  Now, we can begin the real work of a therapy team!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Caturday outings and BOOMS!

Hi there everyone! We hope that you all had a great and safe weekend. My fursibs and I spent a few hours under the table and couch, hiding from the big BOOMS! Did you know that July 5th is the busiest day of the year from shelters in the United States? So sad... We hope that all of you are still with your families in one piece and nobody is lost! We'll talk about microchipping and IDs in another story - so important, even if you don't take your pets outside.

ANYWAY... Caturday morning, Mum and I went to the Beaverton Farmer's Market, WOW was it ever busy!


But first of all, there was the getting there... How do humans keep from getting lost in such a big world! So much to see. Mum had to stop for something called coffee. I think that's the equivalent of catnip juice or something.

Thankfully, I always travel with Mum.  I ride in my booster seat and she gives me lots of love along the way.

I check things out when we first go someplace.  Mum's number one job is to make sure that it's safe for me.  Even when I'm in my stroller, I still wear my leash and harness.  I wore my favorite harness today - it's purrrfect for summer.

All the humans there this weekend REALLY liked me and we actually had trouble moving around the market because so many people wanted to come and meet me (am I famous and I don't know it?).  Mum always takes the time to talk to them and tell them what a therapy kitty is.  People usually know about therapy dogs but not therapy cats.  There is only approximately one therapy cat for every 100 therapy dogs!

Tiny humans are very interesting.  Every once in awhile, we meet one that is actually scared of me but I let them know that I'm friendly and would never hurt them.  I like to teach them how to pet.


Ahhhh... the life of a star.

We're still waiting for the confirmation of our registration but once we do, we can start going to visit patients in care facilities!  We hope that's soon.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cheeeeeeeeeeese!


Some of the stuff we have to do in order to be a Therapy Cat is lots of work - and then there there is some fun stuff too!  In the last post, we talked about getting all my stuff ready and getting cleaned up and everything.  Today, it's all about being gorgeous!

The last thing that has to be done to complete the registration process with Pet Partners is that Mum and I had to have a picture taken of the two of us - together!  Well, I convinced her that an awkward selfie was hardly the way to go and Mum got a friend of hers to take some pics of us (me really... Mum was there as a chaperone and she did have to be in at least ONE of the pictures).  
  
Mum's wonderful friend, Betty Doran, suggested that we try Farmington Gardens.  It's a beautiful and HUGE nursery near our home and they graciously allowed us to come and do this.  That's one thing about being a Therapy Cat team... you learn to always ask permission for things.

You can kind of see beyond the buildings here, the property goes on and on for a really long while since they grow a lot of the plants that they sell!



You can go one way.... 



They have covered areas with even more plants and stuff!
 


But wait... let's go this way!  Down this path is the most beautiful garden I've ever seen!  I'm only two years old so even though I haven't seen a lot of gardens Mum said this one is really special.



Betty thought I was really cute... she obviously has excellent taste in kitties!



Mum thinks that I should be a cat food spokescat or something...  Did someone say "All the crunchies I can eat?!"



We found a really nice place in the shade and Mum held me in front of her....  No dice since I kept looking off to the side because there was SO MUCH TO SEE!!  I was actually pretty distracted with all the flowers... and the bees...  and the birds... and the people... It was a good thing that this wasn't an official visit although there were some kids there that I got to meet and they smiled at me a lot.  Then, Mum remembered that I like to ride on her shoulders some times.  Once I was up there, I found something much more fascinating, Betty's camera made noises that kept my attention!  So here is our official badge picture.  What do you think?



After a morning of all that paparazzi, I need a rest.  You can find me laying low in my stroller... signing pawtographs.


*Basil's Mum here...  I'd like to officially thank the wonderful Betty Doran for a great morning and taking such purrrfect pictures!  Also, a huge thanks to Farmington Gardens for allowing us to roam the grounds and entertain staff while we took pics.  If you live anywhere in the western Portland metro area, check them out!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Getting ready...

Being a therapy kitty is lots of fun and lots of love but there's also an awful lot of work that goes into it!  In some future posts, Mum and I will go into all the time and hard work that went into getting ready for our evaluation but for this post, we're going to meow a bit about what goes into getting ready for a visit or event.

The night before we go anywhere is really busy.

I get my claws trimmed....  I wouldn't want to scratch anyone if I got scared.

I get my ears and teeth checked and cleaned...  Who wants bad breath?  Not me!

And then...  (insert dramatic music)  I get a bath!

Now, I don't hate baths but I don't love them either.  To follow the rules, I have to get one within about 24 hours of going somewhere.  Mum taught me how to "stay" which is what I'm doing here for my bath.  As you might guess, "stay" isn't my favorite at this moment either. After I'm all clean, Mum dries me off as much as she can with a couple of towels and then, I run off to finish the job.  You know they saying... if you want something right, you've got to do it yourself!

The next morning, we get breakfast a little earlier so that I have time to eat, clean myself, and use the litter box if I need to.  While Mum gets herself ready, I make sure all the water goes down the shower drain.  My sisfur, Tesla, helped this morning.

Then all my stuff has to be packed to go with us.  We take along... all of this!

  1. My Pet Partner vest (just in case I have to be official somewhere)
  2. A hair removal brush (so I don't leave anyone with fur on their shirt or something)
  3. Hand sanitizer (people in healthcare settings have to use it before and after they pet me, just to be safe for both them and me)
  4. A small blanket (I'm not allowed to sit directly on a patient's lap so Mum puts this down for me to sit on)
  5. My harness (this goes on with my leash attached before I ever leave home)
  6. TWO leashes (my regular one and a second shorter red one in case someone else wants to hold my leash so Mum always holds the pink one and never lets go of me)
  7. Treats, I'm a fan of catnip flavored Greenies (I'm allowed to have treats if someone wants to give me me one and it's okay with Mum)
  8. An extra soft brush (in case someone wants to brush me or a Doctor wants me to help with someone's occupational therapy and they hold the brush to pet me and work on their hand coordination)
  9. A bandana (Mum usually uses it if she sneezes but it can be to wipe off my face or lots of things
Then, my stroller has to be cleaned, ready with all my stuff in the compartment underneath, and loaded in the car.  Mum brings along an extra soft kennel and a small litter box... just in case.


Mum puts my harness on and hooks me into my booster seat after she puts the seatbelt through it so I'm all safe.

AND AWAY WE GO!!  You'll have to come back to see where we went today...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Beware... The simple things can be dangerous.

A few days ago, Mum was doing some cleaning and put a few things near the front door so she could take them out to the recycling and trash.  One thing was a cute little paper bag with stiff twine for the handles.  It only took me a minute to get curious about it all...  I stuck my head through the handle and Mum saw me but it was too late!

I felt the handle around my neck and then, as I pulled away, the bag came back too!  I got really scared and ran away.  The faster I ran, the more scared I got because the bag was still around me.  I ran behind the couch and the bag got caught around the leg of the couch.  Mum had a heck of a time getting to me and just ripped the bag as quick as she could to get it away from me.

I was still scared a shook for a little while but Mum tried to calm me down and let me know I was ok.

Lesson....  PLEASE be careful of ANY sort of bag in your home!  Mum knew this lesson but it only takes one second for us to get our heads stuck in a handle.  If it's a plastic bag and we get scared, we could try to get away and the bag may twist around our necks or the plastic cover our faces.  So don't leave anything like this around, whether you're home or not!

You are your animals best advocate and steward. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Going to the V.E.T.

Everyone usually thinks that becoming a therapy kitty is pretty easy... as long as your nice and like people, it's a done deal, right?  Wrong!  There are a lot of things that have to be done first.  Up to now, Mum has been taking me to places so that I get used to being around strangers, loud noises, and all sorts of different things.  I also had to get used to wearing my harness and riding in my stroller  - and do all of this without being afraid!  Then, Mum had to take a class so that she would know how she has to behave and handle me in all of these situations.  We're being certified through Pet Partners and they are really strict about their therapy animals teams!

One of the things that has to happen before the big test day is a special trip to the V.E.T.  Normally, cats don't like this at all and Mum had to find us a new doctor which made it extra tough.  Thanks to her friend Dr. Grant from Scaredy Cat Hospital in Phoenix, AZ, yesterday we went to Cat Care Professionals in Lake Oswego, Oregon near our home.  Before we even walked in, Mum said she was pretty impressed with how they handled everything.  They had all my records before we got there and they used all sorts of cool techy things so it was on the calendar on Mum's computer so she wouldn't forget and everything was ready ahead of time.

We got to the appointment on time because Mum is pretty picky about those sorts of things. Mack came along with me since it was time for our annual shots anyway.

 
When we went into the room, I had to check out the floor.  It was clean and very good for rolling around on.


Then I met the vet tech lady, Kristine.  She asked Mum all sort of questions and I introduced myself.

I think Mack just wanted to go home...

The Dr. Amanda Barkely came in.  Despite having the word "bark" in her name, she really likes kitties.

 She tried listening to my insides with the stethoscope thingy but my purr was louder.  It made everyone smile though!

She looked in my eyes and ears.  I didn't care much for this part but she was really nice and it was done quickly.  

And I got more love afterward!

Mack was just in it for the butt scratches!

Anyway, we found a fantastic new vet and really like Dr. Amanda.  She signed off on the paper saying that I'm healthy enough to be a therapy kitty!  Next stop...  THE EVALUATION.