London care-worker training cat to be a therapist
A London care-worker is hoping that his cat might bring joy and laughter to his clients and neighbours in Camden. His training program invloves taking his sweet 'Quita' everywhere with him - including new cities and transportation systems.
Published on the 09/07/2019, 17:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:24
Quita the cat is in training to become the UK’s first independent therapy cat, and is already charming locals with her haunted stare, tiger-like appearance, and flicking tail-tip.
“If she does get overly playful and a risk of aggression emerges, we tend to point at her and she stops,” Bob Padron told The Evening Standard. “Either that or we just stop giving her attention – that usually does the trick.”
The cat has met a number of celebrities on her walks around the city, including known animal-lover Ricky Gervais and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, greeting them with, what seems in pictures to be somewhat of a mild indifference.
More than just a pretty face?
Naturally, there is a social media account involved: Quita’s Instagram following is fast-approaching 4,000.
But while cats may look cute and loveable in photographs, can a representative of the notoriously combative species offer similar appeal in flesh and blood?
“It was my aunt’s idea to train her as a therapy cat,” says Padron, who has a heart of gold. “Engaging with pets as a form of therapy is a widely established practice in the US, and my aunt who’s from California suggested Quita could similarly bring joy over here.”
Padron has been named the UK’s “Most Outstanding Leader in the Care Sector” on two occasions thanks to his hard work and, perhaps, his incredible sense of optimism.
“We’ve always tried to establish a happy, upbeat atmosphere here but, as animal lovers, we thought a cat would bring a real boost,” he says, of his efforts to introduce Quita to the Penrose Care premises as ‘office cat.’
What could go wrong?
The caregiver and romantic Padron grew up in a small California town with turtles, fish, and a duck, who was named Sam. He moved to London 12 years ago and brought his optimism with him.
Quita will need to be over nine months old before she’s allowed to take a temperament test and potentially become a Pets As Therapy-approved therapist.
While they’re waiting, Padron likes to take Quita on long strolls on her lead, even utilizing London’s Tube system to get the little monster from place to place.
“She’s honestly the happiest cat I’ve ever met. She’s so outgoing, not introverted like many other cats and she really does love just being with people,” Padron confirms.