The Central Jersey Cat Fanciers are celebrating their fifteenth cat show anniversary at the Sheraton Parsippany Jan. 8-10, and there is a lot to see at the event. One special cat there named Marbles was adopted as a rescue, entered in the Household Pet division soon after, and went on to be certified as a therapy cat.
Elaine Zalewski, the cat’s owner, said she and her husband adopted Marbles at only four months old from the Friends of Randolph Animal Pound in New Jersey in 2006. The couple had lost their previous cat due to a congenital heart defect. It was not long after they adopted Marbles that Zalewski noticed there was something special about the cat.
“I was at a cat show in Allentown, PA, eight years ago where I asked an autistic boy at the show if he would like to pet Marbles,” said Zalewski. “I noticed the boy calmed down right away. I relayed the story to friends at my church, and my friends there suggested I get Marbles certified as a therapy cat.”
Zalewski went to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey and completed their Paws for People workshop. She then had Marbles evaluated as a therapy animal, and she passed. Today Marbles services 23 facilities (including nursing homes, a senior day care center and a VA medical center) covering six counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Zalewski and Marbles made over 257 visits in 2015 and traveled over 17,000 miles between therapy visits and traveling to cat shows to conduct pet therapy seminars and set up informational displays at the shows.
“There are not a lot of therapy cats around,” said Zalewski. “One reason is because there is a misconception that cats are too independent to make good therapy animals. However, there are many breeds that are quite suited as therapy cats such as Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Persians, and British Shorthairs, to name a few.”
Zalewski later became a pet therapy trainer herself. She conducts seminars on pet therapy and evaluates animals as potential therapy animals. Her business is called Furry Agape Pet Therapy and is based in Grove City, PA.
The Central Jersey Cat Fanciers Cat Show cat show is governed by The International Cat Association (TICA) rules. By entering, all participants agree to abide by all TICA show rules as well as the decisions of the Judges and Show Committee. According to show manager Susan Adler, over 200 cats are participating and competing at this three-day event. Visit the Central Jersey Cat Fanciers website page for further information. You can also write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Read more here from the New Jersey Animal Rescue Examiner.