TICA Therapy Cat Title and Recognition Program
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If you are not already part of a registered Pet Partners or Windwalker Humane Coalition therapy team, there is no time like the present!
Join more than 15,000 volunteers nationwide!
The program's mission is to improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond and TICA is the only feline registry worldwide to reward and acknowledge therapy cat teams.
Volunteering with your cat as a Therapy Team is a rewarding way to make a difference in the lives of hospital patients, nursing home residents and even neighbors who aren’t as mobile as they used to be.
TICA is the first cat registry where teams of cats and owners can earn titles, certificates, and badges for their feline by registering as a Therapy Cat and volunteering as a team.
Pet Partners is the leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAI). With more than 10,000 volunteers making more than three million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the largest and most prestigious nonprofit registering therapy animal teams, who improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond.
Windwalker Humane Coalition is a dedicated group of professionals, Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT) facilitators, and students. We are professionals who wish to respectfully work together for the development, advancement, and monitoring of the profession of pet assisted therapy and are aided by an advisory board consisting of dedicated individuals and related professions. Our Mission at Windwalker is for the profession of pet assisted therapy to be integrated into health care, rehabilitation, social services, and education at all levels and to advocate for the wellbeing of animals and humans.
TICA with Pet Partners and Windwalker Humane Coalition
Once your cat has met the requirements and is registered as a Therapy Cat by a TICA approved organization, such as Pet Partners or Windwalker Humane Coalition your team can earn 3 levels of titles based on approved visits made. TICA offers three levels of titles that can be achieved. While the emphasis is on helping others, along the way you will end up making new friends, and earn an invaluable sense of accomplishment.
a. TC - Therapy Cat is awarded after the team has completed 50 approved visits.
b. TCX - Therapy Cat Excellence is awarded after the team has completed 100 approved visits.
c. TCD - Therapy Cat of Distinction is awarded after the team has completed 200 approved visits.
Check to see if your cat meets the current behavior/health requirements: https://petpartners.org/volunteer
Take a Handler Course to learn the responsibilities of a successful volunteer: https://petpartners.org/volunteer/become-a-handler/
Are you interested, but not sure if you and your cat are the right fit? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more details:
How do I know if my cat is the right fit for therapy work?
Therapy cats range from household cats to pedigreed cats, but the single most important characteristic of a therapy cat is its temperament. A good therapy cat must be very friendly, patient, confident, gentle at all times, and at ease in any situation. Therapy cats must also enjoy contact with adults, as well as children, and be content with being petted and sometimes handled clumsily.
What are the health requirements for my cat?
Since therapy cats often work with people who are ill or otherwise immune compromised, therapy cats must be up to date on vaccinations and be on a routine annual exam schedule. A screening form must be signed by your veterinarian to confirm that your cat is healthy and able to participate in the program.
Once registered, what opportunities will my cat and I have for visits?
Therapy cats provide affection and comfort to people in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospices, schools, and other human service care facilities. Not only do they provide comfort, they can also lower blood pressure, help people feel safe and relieve loneliness and depression. Visit Pet Partners calendar of volunteering events.
What benefits have cats been found to offer patients?
Therapy cats have been used to help kids with developmental disorders like autism be more comfortable and have also been found to stimulate both memory and forgotten emotions in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Other benefits have included strengthened fine muscle skills and enhanced hand-eye coordination from brushing and a decrease in blood pressure when being held.
Can my kids go on visits with me and my cat?
Yes, the person handling the animal must be at least 10 years old. Those younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must have written permission to participate from their parent or guardian.
How do I get started?
Team registration is the process you and your cat will go through to demonstrate that you are both suitable and prepared for therapy animal work. Once you and your cat have met the requirements and registered as a Therapy Cat with a TICA approved organization, such as Pet Partners, your team can begin volunteering. Download the Volunteering with Your Cat TICA Therapy Cat Program Brochure to learn more.
Meet Gwyneth Hayes and Her Six Therapy Cats Who Provide Comfort and Motivation to Others While They Earn Titles in TICA’s Therapy Cat Program
April 30 is National Therapy Animal Day. The day was launched in 2015 by Pet Partners to recognize and celebrate therapy animals, raise awareness of their role in enhancing human health and well-being, and honor the thousands of dedicated handlers around the world who volunteer their time and compassion during visits.
In honor of National Therapy Animal Day, meet Gwyneth Hayes and her six therapy cats – Chase, Darius, Flora, Gus, John David, and Phil -- who combined did a total of 136 visits to rehabilitation centers, libraries, and nursing homes over the past year. As a team or by themselves, they spread joy and motivate many who feel they’ve been forgotten or had given up on themselves.
Gwyneth started her cats on the therapy path after doing visits with her dog. She thought to herself “if he could do it, why not a cat?” and so began the journey with her cats. To prepare her cats for all the handling and noise associated with therapy work, Gwyneth started showing her cats at TICA shows. The confidence cats gain in the show ring helps translate into happy therapy cats.
She worked with her cats for several years with the American Red Cross in their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program and then transitioned to Caring Hearts Pet Therapy. Through Pet Partners, Gwyneth and her cats also work with children in many read to the animals’ programs.
Their work does not go unnoticed. Gwyneth’s cats earn titles for their visits through TICA’s Therapy Cat Program. All of Gwyneth’s therapy cats earned their Therapy Cat of Distinction title from TICA after they completed their first 200 visits. Chase and Gus have both earned their Supreme Grand Champion Alter, Darius has earned his Supreme Grand Champion, Phil has earned his Supreme Grand Master, John David has earned his Quad Grand Champion and Flora has earned her Quad Grand Champion Alter title.
TICA is the first, and to date the only, cat registry where teams of cats and owners can earn titles, certificates, and badges for their feline by registering as a Therapy Cat and volunteering as a team. Learn more about TICA’s Therapy Program and how you can get involved with your cat and earn titles while helping others.
Meet Each of Gwyneth’s Therapy Cats and Learn How they Make a Difference in the Lives of Others