Bentley aged care residents look forward to kitten therapy


SwanCare resident Cathy Lau with kittens Nalah and Harry. Picture: Marie Nirme
SwanCare resident Cathy Lau with kittens Nalah and Harry. Picture: Marie Nirme

FOUND late last year as newborns, abandoned and severely dehydrated, kittens Nalah and Harry Houdini are embarking on a remarkable journey to become in-house therapy cats for residents at a Bentley aged care facility, right next-door to where they were found.

The pair was found late last year in a soon-to-be demolished building in Bentley Park with two other kittens and a mother cat.

While the mother cat and one kitten have been neutered, another kitten has been re-homed and the other died.

SwanCare maintenance officer Scott Arkwright found the stuck kittens.

“The first kitten, Nalah, had fallen from the roof cavity to the concrete floor and Harry was found five days later stuck in the roof,” he said.

“They had been there in 40 C heat so we weren’t sure they would survive; they were tiny.”

The kittens were treated for heat exhaustion, but otherwise given a full bill of health.

Now about nine weeks old, the kittens reside at Tandara, one of SwanCare’s three aged care facilities and are being specially trained as therapy cats.

Activities co-ordinator Teresa Strelley said the two kittens were a perfect fit, with Nalah being naturally gentle and cuddly, and Harry, cheeky and curious.

“We know that therapy cats can do wonders for the wellbeing of aged care residents,” Ms Strelley said.

“They are also very intuitive; they just seem to know when someone is in need.”

The residents are fundraising for the kittens’ food and vet needs, a sense of responsibly that has positively influenced residents.

Ms Strelley said the kittens’ training would ensure they were at ease with being led on a harness and handled by many and so far, they were making great pupils, being toilet-trained at just four weeks old.

Resident Cathy Lau (74) said they were a welcome addition to her home.

“Everyone here can’t stop talking about the kittens and how excited they are to have them around,” she said.

“They are such a wonderful asset and will bring so much joy to us all… we can’t wait for a nice long cuddles with our new house cats.”