Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | August 19, 2008

Cats and Prison

Stormy - Author of Week

Stormy - Author of Week

Hi my name is Stormy, I am a gorgeously handsome adult cat here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter patiently awaiting the arrival of my new family.  To pass the time as I wait for this lucky person(s) I have been writing to a distant cat-cousin living in Thailand who has made close friend with inmates at the Bang Kwang prison.  He and other cats living there have helped the inmates, as well as the prison officials, to discover the therapeutic value of cats.

As my penpal explains, with the seriousness of their crimes, inmates in Bang Kwang Prison have little hope of finishing their jail terms before 30 years and, in many cases, face lifetime imprisonment.  With such an ‘eternity’, most of their relatives stop visiting.  These inmates have found comfort in the fact that the prison cats, who have been around the prison since before it was built, listen to them.

Many attempts have been tried to remove the cats, but within a few days, they mysteriously return. So the officials decided to allow these human-feline friendships to continue and thus hundreds of cats happily scatter around the prison (after being sterilized) visiting their friends.  And, as my penpal writes, ” the rodent population has all but diminished, mmmm…”

A warden at Bang Kwang Prison said “The cats have always been around with us and prove to be amazingly comforting to the inmates. With these cats around, inmates with brutal crimes such as murder have reduced much of their aggression and become gentler. Some spare their food for their cat friends. Some even buy them canned fish.”

The felines are said to have significantly improved the inmates’ psychological wellbeing.  Many inmates pick one or two of the cats to be their favorite friends, especially a group of former gunmen who are less sociable. They prefer being with friends who do not speak, but listen.

My cat petpal wrote of one former gunman saying, “When I first arrived here, I was very edgy, so full of worries and bad tempers rushing in and out. But when I began raising and playing with these cats, my mind grew calmer.”  The friendship between the inmates and their cats makes each day in Bang Kwang Prison much more bearable and not so desolate. It’s another example of animals helping humans to feel more like a human once again.   

I think many people can relate to these positive effects of cats.  Just ask my good friend Linda McNeil who comes in regularly to groom and pet the Second Chance Shelter Cats.  She and other volunteers find it very therapeutic and relaxing.  So I am thinking of starting a Second Chance Cat Therapy Group.  Anyone having a bad day is welcome to join.  We are open for “sessions” from 10 AM to 4 PM seven days a week – free of charge.  We have various therapeutic modalities: Play Therapy, Purr Therapy, Petting Therapy, or Flop on the Floor Therapy, or any combination you would like.

I hope to see you soon!

Stormy is a very special cat here at Second Chance.  He has gone through some rough times and continues to maintain a very positive easygoing attitude – making him a great teacher for us all.  As an adult cat he finds himself overlooked by adopters who prefer the young ones – so we are hoping that a special someone who recognizes the value of adopting a well mannered and fully trained adult cat will appear in his life soon.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs.  Visit www.secondchancehumanesociety.org to see our adoptable pets.  Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to Kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.org.

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