Cat gives young boy a voice

Lorcan and Jessi-cat, hanging out. (Photo by Cavendish Press)On a difficult news day that may have made you question your faith in humanity, we were delighted to spot a story that reaffirmed our faith in, well, felinity: an article in The Sun about a fluffy kitty named Jessi-cat who's helping her young owner to find his voice.
Lorcan Dillon is a 7-year-old from Davyhulme, Greater Manchester who suffers from an anxiety condition that makes it almost impossible for him to communicate or express emotion. But that all began to change when his mother, Jayne, brought home a cream-colored Birman cat named Jessi-cat a couple of years ago. (Birmans, not to be confused with Burmese, are semi-longhaired cats with distinctive sapphire eyes and pure white "gloves" on each paw.)

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Lorcan bonded strongly with Jessi-cat, and as a result, he's better able to show affection, Jayne told The Sun. "The bond between Lorcan and Jessi-cat is so touching as he's able to show physical affection to her which he doesn't like doing with people – even me." Not every cat is up for lots of canoodling, but according to Jayne, Jessi loves it: "She's such a delightful, responsive cat and he hugs and kisses her all the time." Aw.

The article also says that Lorcan is doing better in social situations recently. In the last couple of weeks, Jayne said, he's "started communicating with people he doesn't know very well and even reads to one of the teachers now," which he hasn't done before (aw!). And he's started saying "I love you" for the first time. Awwww!

Jayne noted that cuddling and spending time with the cat is a way for Lorcan "to express his emotions that otherwise he wouldn't be able to do."

Numerous studies have suggested that pets can help with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses; pet-assisted therapy is offered by senior centers, hospitals, and even universities during exam periods. Jessi-cat may have no formal training and only one "client," but she's still doing great work. She sure made us feel better today.

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