A Therapy Cat Named Baxter

Today Lincoln Pet Culture is honored to bring a special interview to its readers. In the first of its kind, my therapy cat Rainy sat down to do an online interview with Therapy Cat Baxter who currently spreads sunshine to patients in Virginia.

RAINY: Why did your Mom want you to become a therapy cat?

BAXTER: Mom didn’t know if I would like to be a therapy cat because I was 8 weeks old when she got me, but she hoped I would because her two other therapy cats were getting old (Eddie was 12, Dog 14), and she knew there was a great need for therapy cats.

RAINY: How did she prepare you?

BAXTER: Mom prepared me in a lot of ways! She trained me to wear a harness and leash and to be comfortable in a carrier and riding in the car. She took me to public places and introduced me to lots of people. She also taught me to obey Come, Sit, Stay, and Leave it (don’t touch). My charming temperament and sparkling personality are all me though!

RAINY: How old were you when you started?

Photo provided by Terri Jennings
Photo provided by Terri Jennings

BAXTER: Mom started training me at eight-weeks-old. I did my first practice visit (under very controlled conditions) at a facility when I was four-months-old. I will be seven in April.

RAINY: Why do you like being a therapy cat?

BAXTER: Because I love being the center of attention, and because I need lots of petting and cuddles. At home, I’m one of twelve pets. Mom and Dad give us all lots of love and attention, but I need more than the others and so I visit people who need cheering up and love all over me.

RAINY: How do you react to other therapy cats and/or dogs?

BAXTER: I get along with all kinds of other animals (I live with dogs, cats, exotic birds, and goats), as long as they are polite and friendly. Some therapy dogs have barked or growled at me, but I know that Mom will keep me safe and so I don’t get scared or angry. Instead I just lay down in my stroller and ignore them.

Photo provided by Terri Jennings
Photo provided by Terri Jennings

RAINY: Tell me the story of how your Mom got you.

BAXTER: About 10 years ago, a friend introduced Mom to a cat breed called Pixie Bobs. She thought they were awesome so she tried to adopt one. She looked for two years but had no luck. When one of her elderly cats died, and she was so she quit looking. A few months later, to help Mom with her grief, Dad suggested that she get a Pixie Bob from a breeder since she couldn’t adopt one. Mom debated it for a while. Her pets had always rescue/shelter animals, but she decided to make an exception in this case. She found a reputable breeder, and here I am!

RAINY: Tell me more about your siblings.

BAXTER: Ah yes, my beloved siblings…. Two of them are dogs: Murphy is a nine-year-old Alaskan Malamute and Muttly is a two-year-old Great Pyrenees. My cat siblings are: therapy cat Dog is 20, Daisy is 18, Shy Guy is 17, Mewmew is five and Darth Vader is six. Our two cockatoos, Buddy and Godfrey were adults when Dad got them, and so we don’t know their ages. Our two pygmy goats, Ruby and Sparkle, are each one. There’s rarely a dull moment at our house!

Photo provided by Terri Jennings
Photo provided by Terri Jennings

RAINY: Share something we don’t know about your Mom.

BAXTER: Mom loves ALL animals but learned early in her life-long animal welfare activities and animal training career that there are fewer resources, funding for, and understanding of cats. Mom became a cat advocate because that’s where the greatest need is and, of course, she LOVES cats.

RAINY: What ways do you cause your Mom trouble at home?

BAXTER: Okay, reports of my misbehavior at home are greatly exaggerated…. I’ll ask Mom, VERY politely, for her undivided attention three or fur times. I do a squeaky meow and paw at her repeatedly. But she’s a little dense at times and so I have to break a few rules (jumping on the dining room table, playing with the drape cords, flicking a sleeping dog/cat ear, knocking something off of somewhere etc) to get through to her.

Photo provided by Terri Jennings
Photo provided by Terri Jennings

RAINY: What ways do you make your Mom happy at home?

BAXTER: I make Mom happy just by being myself. Of course, she’s very proud of me for being an awesome therapy cat but that comes second to being her beloved family member.

RAINY: Why did you start a fan page?

BAXTER: We started my fan page to raise awareness about the benefits of therapy cats, and to recruit and train others to help me to spread happiness.

My therapy cat Rainy enjoyed her first interview experience. If you have a cat who likes therapy or agility, please contact Lincoln Pet Culture for an interview. All cat interviews will also be featured at Rainy’s Instagram account.

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