Saturday, January 26, 2013

How An Untrained Cat Can be an Assistance Animal

Cats are sleep specialists
Emotional support animals (pets who help people with disabilities without having special training) can reduce the need for drugs and other medical treatment, especially for people with pain or psychiatric disabilities. The U.S. government recognizes their value and requires they be allowed, without deposits or fees, in nearly all housing units in the country. 

Sleep is so challenging for someone with bipolar and so important in managing bipolar disorder that John McManamy, a science writer and bipolar sufferer, has called bipolar disorder "a sleep disorder with mood symptoms." When I can't sleep properly my moods starts spiraling up into hypomania and when I'm suffering from hypomania I can't sleep properly. Due to past reactions to antidepressants, my hypomanic moods are usually combined with depression -- what are called mixed episodes in which suicide is a distinct danger. I avoid tranquilizers or sleeping pills, so what do I do when I can't sleep? 

I take my cat Sibol to bed with me every night. She sleeps on my chest or curled up in my arms. If I wake with racing thoughts and my body nearly twitching with energy, I stroke her and focus on the feel of her fur and the sound of her purring. It's not just that it's nice to have the cat there, petting an animal causes a release of oxytocin in both of us. She purrs louder as a result and I get enough calming effect to help me stay in bed and continue petting her. The cycle continues as long as it takes to get me back to sleep. 

This doesn't just benefit me. Because of my disability my medical expenses are paid for by Medicare. My cat costs the government nothing, but can save anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars in prescriptions and hospitalizations.

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service Human
call us using "call Maeve and Joanne" at

Joanne Shortell, Maeve's Service HumanWe would LOVE to speak to your group free of charge

Joanne and Maeve (her psychiatric service poodle) help people with psychiatric disabilities discover their rights to emotional support animals in no-pets housing without pet deposits or pet fees and their rights to service dogs
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