It has become fairly common knowledge that cats are great therapy for nursing home residents, and it is a joy to see eyes light up when a cat is brought in by a visitor. Even more fortunate are those patients of health care facilities who have a cat in residence. Try petting your kitty when you are stressed from the activities of an unusually busy day. You'll find those tense shoulder and neck muscles relaxing, your heart rate slowing, and an intense feeling of pleasure flowing through your entire body, as all those stresses flow out and relaxation flows in. Those are the benefits of therapy cats to nursing home residents and health care facilities, and they can be equally applied to the rest of us. Therapy cats are especially valuable when interacting with Alzheimer patients, by stimulating both memory and forgotten emotions. Cats are also very helpful for patients with seizure and emotional disorders. They can sense a seizure coming on, and can sense if their owner is sad, stressed, or even suicidal. they use their 'kitty' powers to help relax the owner to a safe state of mind and body. Ways that they do this is by purring, rubbing up against their owner and wanting to play. the purr of a cat is extremely helpful and calming to a patient. ( there's a little background information for you, so I can continue my story without you, the unknown reader, being extremely confused.)I am lucky to have my own little therapy cat. He wasn't adopted for being a therapy pet, but as a friend for me. We went to an animal shelter one hot early hot July day to finally get a kitten for me since i was pestering my mom for one for years. We walked in and Our jaws dropped to the ground because of all the homeless cats all looking for a home….any home. this was a shelter that gassed the 'unwanted' cats. ( the cats were labeled 'unwanted' after three weeks in this shelter) we took our time looking for the 'right' kitty for me. I picked up hundreds of kittens, and cats, all wanting to go home with me, my mom had her own hands filled with her share of kittens and cats. I just wanted to take them all home with me, save them from this kind of life. to Save them from death. but I could only have one. So after hours of looking into the soulful eyes of so many cats, i stumbled upon a black and white young cat. He was severely under weight. I looked at his papers… he had three different homes that all brought him back. and by the date that the last owner brought him in….he didn't have long to live. I scooped this lonely cat into my arms and instantly I knew. this funny little cat wasmycat. My mom was more into a grey kitten. but I wanted this cat. when my mom picked him up, he flopped all over in her arms, making my mom ask "is this cat sick?", the answer was no, it was not sick, it really liked us. that was it. We adopted him right away. My grandmother wasn't too happy to have a cat in my mom's house. She would even tease the cat by making funny faces causing the cat to race up to my room. we named the cat taffy. My grandmother was the one who named him. It was a happy relationship. A cat who needed love, and a girl who had so much love to give.Then my depression hit in the 8th grade. I was suicidal, cutting, and extremely depressed. taffy sensed it right away and would stop what he was doing and jump into my lap purring like crazy. it helped me a lot. he knew when I was in the clinic for being suicidal, and he wouldn't eat until I came home. And when my mom was crying because I was in the hospital, taffy would do something he never did with anyone but me…..he hopped into my mom's arms and wouldn't leave until my mom stopped crying. I got over my depression half a year later. the bond between me and taffy grew even stronger until he was known as MY cat.Two to three years passed, Cat and girl couldn't be any happier. until i got into a very bad relationship where i was severely abused and forced to perform sex acts. A few months later he raped me to knife point, and threatened that if I told anyone, I would become another orphan. He told me every detail to what he would do to my family if I ever told. I kept it my secret. but Taffy could see right through me, I started cutting again, and became addicted to it. Taffy would rub up against me and my scarred up arms purring….as if to tell me "everything will be okay."I finally broke down and was admitted to the hospital for suicidal idealation. But I kept my secret for another half a year. In and out of the hospital I went. taffy always helping me deal with life when I was home. Finally i told someone that I was raped by my ex-boyfriend. I finally began to heal. I never reported him to the police in fear for my family. ( which turned out OK, he was imprisoned for raping another girl who DID press charges.)My family and friends were there to support me as I slowly healed from the trauma. Especially Taffy. he was always there for me, purring me to sleep at night, sleeping on top of my head. it was very comforting. Around the same time, I began having seizures. Taffy began to get used to this new adjustment and soon tried to help me deal with it. Every time He sensed a seizure coming on he would howl and rub against my leg.Taffy was and is more than a pet to me. He is my best friend and my therapy cat. He helps me when I'm depressed. he can make me laugh with his funny habits…..such as stealing jewlery and putting it into a little pile in the attic of my doll house. everytime he hops, I know he stole something else shiny. He has had various items in his little pile…..such as hanger handles, pins, paper clips, earrings, bracklets, necklaces, even shiny cloth, shiny doll shoes from glass dolls, even my mom's car keys!!!!Taffy has helped me heal through the hard times just as much as my family and doctors did. He is the best cat that anyone could have. Even after adopting a sheltie, and another cat, and a rabbit, Taffy remains my favorite. I love Taffy because he is the cat that healed my Spirit.