Found late last year as newborns, abandoned and severely dehydrated, kittens Nalah and Harry (Houdini) are now embarking on a remarkable journey to become in-house therapy cats for residents at a Bentley aged care facility, right next-door to where they were found.
SwanCare maintenance officer Scott Arkwright found the newborn kittens stuck in a disused – and soon to be demolished – building at SwanCare’s Bentley Park.
“The first kitten, Nalah, and fallen from the roof cavity onto a concrete floor and Harry was found five days later stuck in the roof,” Mr Arkwright said. “They had been there in more than 40 degree heat so we weren’t sure they would survive – they were tiny.”
SwanCare staff members rushed the kittens to the local vet who, besides heat exhaustion, gave them a full bill of health.
The kittens, now around nine weeks old, reside at Tandara, one of SwanCare’s three aged care facilities and are being specially trained as therapy cats.
SwanCare Activities Coordinator Teresa Strelley said the two kittens are a perfect fit, with Nalah being naturally gentle and cuddly, and Harry being cheeky and curious.
“We know that therapy cats can do wonders for the wellbeing of aged care residents,” Ms Strelley said. “They are also very intuitive, they just seem to know when someone is in need.
“The residents are also fundraising for the kittens’ food and vet needs, and that sense of responsibly and ownership is having a really positive impact.”
Ms Strelley explained that specific training of the kittens will ensure they are at ease with being led on a harness and handled by many and so far they are making great pupils, being toilet-trained at just four weeks old.
“Everyone here can’t stop talking about the kittens and how excited they are to have them around,” Cathy Lau, 74-year-old Tandara resident said. “They are such a wonderful asset and will bring so much joy to us all.”