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Quattro has the right cat-titude for residents

By David G Scott

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RESIDENTS in Wick's Pulteney House had a lovely Caturday afternoon thanks to Pets as Therapy bringing along the purr-fect pal.

Sheena Miller with Quattro during one of his recent visits to Pulteney House.
Sheena Miller with Quattro during one of his recent visits to Pulteney House.

Karen Binnie Douglas took her therapy cat, Quattro, out in his special pram so that residents at the care home could pet him if they wanted to. Quattro is a Maine Coon cat – coming from a respected breeder in Budapest – and at just two years of age is already a well-travelled puss.

"My children knew how much I adored the breed and bought him for me after my husband died. Quattro was driven from Budapest to London, then by train to Edinburgh and onto Inverness. He was then taken to Aberdeen where he was flown to Kirkwall and finally to Sanday in Orkney," explained Karen.

When she moved to Wick last year, Karen saw a sign in the vet's surgery for Pets as Therapy and immediately thought that Quattro would be the ideal candidate for that line of work.

"We applied and were invited to the vets at Thurso for an assessment of Quattro’s character. Nothing seems to stress him out and he's got a special bond with my dog, Linux, as well."

However, the veterinary assessor wanted to see how Quattro would react to several different scenarios. Karen said that Quattro took everything in his stride and "in his usual confident manner demanded love and attention from the vet".

It was important that Quattro accepted being touched all over and not react with claws or teeth, not try to escape, and would allow himself to be groomed.

"It took some time before we were teamed up with Pulteney House but the wait was worth it. Quattro prefers to visit residents whilst being pushed around in his pet pram however if he particularly likes someone he will get out and give his own brand of love and affection.

"We usually finish our visit in the lounge and Quattro will come out of his pram and have a wander to see what he can find. Our visits last around an hour which is long enough for everyone involved."

Liz Sinclair deputy manager at Pulteney House said that Quattro has been a regular visitor at the care home for some time now. "Since these visits have started the residents really enjoy meeting him. Some of them may have had pets in the past so they really value Karen coming along with Quattro."

One of the residents, Sheena Miller, said she really enjoys Karen and Quattro coming to visit. "He's such a lovely cat. It fairly cheers me up when I know he's coming."

Karen kisses Quattro after a good day's work in the care home.
Karen kisses Quattro after a good day's work in the care home.

The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed with a distinctive physical appearance and a sweet temper. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat.

Pets as Therapy is a national charity founded in 1983 with the aim of enhancing health and wellbeing in the community through the visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals. The charity provide a visiting service in hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues all across the UK.

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