Czym jest i na czym polega terapia z wykorzystaniem kotów

One of the youngest fields of zoo-therapy is a form of contact therapy that uses cats. Premises of this therapy are similar to dogo-therapy. The name felinotherapy derives from two words – felis (Latin) – cat and therapeia (Greek) – care, treatment.

Felinotherapy is good for:

  • getting to know the cat’s body structure,
  • improving physical fitness, coordination, working on concentration,
  • stimulating polisensoric development,
  • developing abilities that identify emotions, giving names and expressing thoughts,
  • communicating with people, learning openness, increasing self-confidence,
  • shaping empathy, autopsychic orientation,
  • evoking spontaneous activity by playing with a cat,
  • shaping independent behaviours, responsibility, regularity,
  • forming relations with children through the mutual plane that is the animal world.

Beside psychological benefits felinotherapy also influences physical health. Contact with a cat lowers blood pressure, the level of triglycerides and blood cholesterol, thus lowers the risk of heart and circulatory system diseases. Moreover, stroking, hugging, lifting, and feeding a cat is the most pleasant gymnastics that you can imagine. Exercises that you do during these actions improve joint mobility and lower aches and pains relating to rheumatism. People who take part in classes with animals increase their activity not only for the duration of those classes but also for a long time after them.

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Felinotherapy can be used for the benefit of:

  • hyperactive children,
  • autistic children,
  • children with Down Syndrome,
  • children with behavioural and emotional disorders,
  • children with anxiety disorders.

Shy and socially withdrawn healthy children who want to develop their emotional intelligence, artistic expression, empathy, for the benefit of hospital patients (it helps them bear the illness).

The sole presence provides healing care, and their touch is relaxing, soothing for various disorders and problems of adults and elderly people. A definite contraindication for using this type of therapy is cat hair allergy.

Elements used during group sessions with a cat:

  • stories about cats, conversations about cats and animals.
  • Direct contact with a cat: stroking a cat, holding it in arms, playing with a cat.
  • Joining other techniques: music therapy, bibliotherapy, depicting cats using various artistic techniques.
  • Conversations and discussions with exhibitors about the cattery, breeds, and cattery’s documentation.
  • Integration sessions with a cat in the role of a co-coach.

This kind of therapy finds its application in the USA, Sweden, and the UK. It appeared in Poland at the end of 2005. Therapists work with cats in nursing houses, senior’s houses, prisons and children’s homes. Session can be conducted individually or in a group. Felinotherapy is used successfully in Sweden in relation to autistic and sexually abused children. Cats efficiently assist in working with anxiety, overcoming behaviours and barriers. People influenced by cats have better mood, improved activity. On the other hand, prisoners get gentle and that can significantly influence their resocialization.

Felinotherapist is a person who leads therapeutic classes that use cats. One of the precursors of this method is Mirosław Tomasz Wende, breeder of pedigree cats, exotic and Persian breeds. He leads classes with children in the Complex of Schools No. 6 in Torun, with adults in the Nursing Home in Torun. Felinotherapy is not only stroking cats and communing with them during classes, it is also a task set of pedagogues, teachers and therapists who want to build proper relations and programs for conducting other subject and therapeutic classes. In Poland, a wide initiative of starting therapeutic work with cats in relation to the disabled and social care institutions has been taken up by “Mruczący Terapeuta” from Olsztyn.


Conditions that have to be met by cats in order for them to take part in fitotherapy:

  • Health: vaccinated, dewormed, under constant control of the veterinarian.
  • Even-tempered, socialized, calm, not showing signs of aggression.
  • Eager to get in touch with people, allow stroking and holding in arms.
  • Not afraid of travel.
  • Used to various conditions (noise, fuss), which guarantee that in a difficult situation the animal is not going to scratch a person who is holding it.
  • They have to be at least one year old – due to the determination of their level of socialization and development of the immune system.

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"Szczytem szczęścia dla kota jest uwaga, rozmowa,
pieszczoty i miłość ze strony człowieka;
a dla ludzi nic nie może być pochlebniejszego
niż przywiązanie istoty tak dalece niezależnej."

Eugen Skasa - Weiss


  • Konecki K.T.: Ludzie i ich zwierzęta. Interakcjonistyczno-symboliczna analiza społecznego świata właścicieli zwierząt domowych. Warszawa 2005
  • Oszubski T. Zwierzę leczy człowieka. Człowiek leczy zwierzę. Nieznany Świat 2004
  • Santorski J. (red.) Abc psychologicznej pomocy. Warszawa 1993
  • Sutton C. Jak radzić sobie z trudnymi zachowaniami u dzieci. Warszawa 1992
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