Animal Care and Control Program Matches Cats with Seniors

Published: Mar. 22, 2016 at 3:53 AM CDT
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Research shows spending time around animals can have many health and emotional benefits in humans.

Cedar Rapids Animal Care Control is reviving its cat companions program to make sure cats and seniors can reap the benefits from each other. The program started in 2011 when Cedar Rapids Citizen John Schenken wanted to 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 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 including a spay or neuter and all needed vaccinations. The fund provides all of the nessacary things to house a cat 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 for seniors 65 and older. Documentation regarding a pet policy is required for those living in a condo or apartment. If interested stop by the animal shelter Monday through Saturdays noon to 5 p.m.