The Pima Animal Care Center in Tuscon, Arizona had a problem.
Two orphaned newborn kittens named Turtle and Peaches needed around-the-clock bottle feeding to survive, and there were not enough hands to take care of them.
The unexpected solution PACC found is helping more than just themselves and the kittens.
The animal care center turned to a local senior care facility for help, making use of the abundance of loving kindness of the residents.
As the residents were asked to help nurse the two newborn kittens, those who receive care themselves have become carers too.
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, as the sense of joy the elderly residents feel when bottle feeding, cuddling, and socializing with the newborns is impossible to replicate without the physical and emotional contact with another living creature.
Sharon Mercer, the Executive Director of the care facility Catalina Springs Memory Care explains, “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. 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,” adds Mercer.
The program is the brainchild of health services director Rebecca Hamilton, who fosters cats herself on a volunteer basis.
Recognizing the joy she was getting from her own experience with her feline friends, she was sure the residents would benefit from being given the opportunity to do the same.
She was right.
Both kittens have doubled in weight and the general condition of the residents has been seen to improve too.