Keota Health welcomes furry friends

Christmas came early for the residents of Keota Health Care Center in the form of fur and purrs. After a process to adopt therapy animals, Tiger and Tommy have now found their new homes with the many residents, where they are giving and receiving love.

According to Mary Geil, Social Services Director, before a decision was made, a resident council meeting was held and the addition of the animals was discussed with all of the residents. Concerns including who would care for the cats, ensuring safety for residents, and residents privacy was discussed. The residents then voted unanimously to adopt two therapy cats.

After approval, administrator Shana Wanders visited shelters in search of the perfect therapy cats. Wanders, who previously worked at a veterinary clinic, looked for certain traits to make sure to find the perfect fit.

It was at Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter in Oskaloosa that she met Tiger and Tommy, two feline brothers, who were named by the residents.

“Shana made sure that the fit would be beneficial to both the residents and the cats,” said activities assistant Niccole Giberson. “Tiger is definitely more energetic, while Tommy is more mellow and lazy, but both cats have a great demeanor, which is important when interacting with our residents.”

An old rabbit hutch, donated by a care worker, was then turned into a home and play hut for the brothers so that they can be put away at night, during meal times and when certain activities are going on that they could possibly interfere with.

“They spend most of their time in the activity room, although when there is nobody in the room, they have been known to venture down the hall, but they stay pretty content in the activity room,” Geil said.

The residents have been very accepting of having the two cats, and the community has been very supportive as well.

“Keota Vet Clinic has agreed to donate the food for the therapy animals,” Geil said. “It is great how responsive residents, families and community members are.”

Tommy and Tiger came fully vetted, being fixed and declawed before making Keota Health Center their home. For more about the feline friends, check out this weeks edition of the Keota Eagle.