Many elderly people live by themselves and feel isolated, which leads to depression and sometimes even a decline in physical health. Having a cat significantly decreases the loneliness and also connects people to the wider community; pets beget interaction and conversation. The problem is that a lot of senior citizens can’t afford the added expense of keeping a cat.
Paws of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap, an animal welfare organization about 95 miles from Seattle, has a solution. People over 65 who live independently and would like the companionship of a pet but whose finances won’t stretch to cover pet care can become part of their PALS initiative. PALS stands for Pets and Loving Seniors.
The program allows a cat to go live at a person’s home as a permanent foster while the organization retains ownership and pays for food, litter, and vet visits. It’s a win-win for all concerned, and we applaud the ingenuity in this arrangement. It’s available only to people in the organization’s service area, but to learn more about how it works, including eligibility requirements for financial assistance, check out pawsbink.org. Click on the “Services” tab, and scroll down to PALS.
Says Emily McCobb, DVM, the director of the Shelter Medicine Program at Tufts, “I think the more we can do as a society to support pet guardianship, the better.”