Two altruistic Arizona institutions—Catalina Springs Memory Care, a senior living facility, and Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), a shelter for dogs, cats, and other furry friends—have teamed up to hatch a purrfect plan: a program that pairs animal-loving residents of the memory care facility with shelter kittens in need of a little love.
Rebecca Hamilton, the health services director of Catalina Springs Memory Care, came up with the ingenious idea. In addition to working at the senior living facility, Hamilton also dedicates her time to voluntarily fostering felines, a meaningful task she thoroughly enjoys. Recognizing the happiness that caring for cats brings her, Hamilton realized that many memory care residents may also delight in bottle feeding, socializing, and, of course, cuddling needy newborns. Coupling two causes dear to her heart—caring for kittens and enriching the lives of senior citizens—Hamilton proposed the idea to PACC, who heartily hopped on board.
On October 14, two young kittens, Peaches and Turtle, were brought to Catalina Springs Memory Care to launch the program. At just 7 ounces each, the two babies were in desperate need of some TLC—and, to no one’s surprise, the residents were more than happy to shower them with affection. Now, one month later, Peaches and Turtle have reached healthy weights and are well on their way to adoptability—a feat that, according to PACC, would not have been possible without the elders’ efforts.
Fortunately, PACC and Catalina Springs Memory Center plan to proceed with the precious program, and both institutions are confident that the kittens will continue to receive unconditional love and top-notch care from the senior citizens. “To some, it may seem peculiar at first: Residents who are in need of around-the-clock care themselves, given the task to care for these young kittens,” Catalina Springs Memory Care Executive Director Sharon Mercer said in the program’s press release. “But there are skills, emotions, and needs that do not just leave a person with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The desire to give love and receive love remains. The kittens have given us the opportunity to nurture this human condition that lies in each and every one of our residents.”
You can learn more about fostering a four-legged friend through the ASPCA!
All images via Pima Animal Care.