A therapy animal can provide comfort and affection to a person who has a disability or serious illness. While most therapy pets are dogs, recent studies suggest cats may help increase empathy while decreasing anxiety for children with autism.
2021 Study: Cats help calm children with autism, according to new research from the University of Missouri. The study was conducted by Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, research scientist (and former school nurse) at the MU Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She studied the benefits of companion animals for families with children with autism.
“Previous research has shown parents of kids with autism are more stressed than parents of kids with any other disability,” Carlisle said. “If a family is considering adopting a companion animal, we want to provide the best evidence-based information possible so they can make an informed decision, and cats might be more beneficial than dogs to some families.”
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