The Purr-fect Remedy

By on Dec 3, 2021 in People

Do you ever get tired of kittens making headlines? Neither do we. Yardi client Pacifica Senior Living transforms the lives of residents one purr at a time. Its property, the Meridian at Anaheim Hills, is warming hearts and improving outcomes for residents with weekly Kitten Therapy Day!

1051922

The program offers benefits for residents and felines.

Kitten Therapy Day: the start of something wonderful

Meridian business manager Lori Irby first brought kittens to the office back in 2019. She is an ASPCA foster caregiver . When newborn kittens were abandoned at the Orange County animal shelter, she took them into her home and into her office where she could feed them every few hours.

Shortly after setting up a playpen for the kittens in her office, residents took interest. Irby received an influx of guests. She noticed how quickly the kittens made their impact on the residents: disinterest transformed into engagement and smiles graced faces that had been chronically tense or sad.

Irby decided to collaborate with the site activities director to begin Kitten Therapy Day every Wednesday. The event shifted from Irby’s office into one of the community’s shared spaces. All residents who are cat allergy-free are welcomed to snuggle up with the kittens. For residents who cannot leave their rooms, Irby places a few kittens in a stroller for kitten therapy on the go.

“For many, it’s the highlight of the week. It’s given residents something to look forward to, especially during the pandemic when no visitors could come in. There’s just something really warm and comforting about holding a purring kitten,” says Irby.

The kittens usually stay in the Meridian program for about eight weeks before they are formally put up for adoption through the ASPCA. More often than not, there’s already a new litter of abandoned kittens on the ASPCA doorstep. They are soon integrated into the Meridian program.

The transition can be a bit tough for residents at first. “They form attachments, so I have to tell them that the kittens have found their ‘forever’ homes,” says Irby. “They’re sad for a bit, and then I’ll bring in a new litter and the happiness starts all over again.”

Kitten Therapy Day improves outcomes for felines and seniors

Kitten Therapy Day is consistently a success. Each week, about a dozen residents participate in the program. More than 50% of Meridian’s residents have participated in the event at least once.

The program offers three-fold benefits. Kittens in need of a home receive steady meals and affection, which help to socialize the kittens. Socialized kittens are more readily adopted, so the program increases the kittens’ likelihood of quickly finding a forever home.

Additionally, Kitten Therapy Day permits residents to engage with pets when they are unable to care for a pet full-time. They can feed, nurture and play with the kittens while receiving support for other forms of cat care.

Kitten Therapy Day also gives the residents another fun activity to look forward to each week. Meridian resident Angela Shockley explains, “Every Wednesday, I watch the clock and ask, ‘Is it time yet to go play with the kittens?’” She continues, “If you’re feeling down, you come away feeling happy — like you’re a new person.”

The program has received significant support from the Pacifica online community. Sheila Bottinelli, executive director at Pacifica, chimed in via LinkedIn, “Yes, we love our kitten therapy program here in the property! It really has been a great way to help place kittens who desperately need a home while at the same time providing love and comfort to our residents here. Please consider starting a program in your community.”

Yardi clients and employees are Energized for Good! Visit our Giving Page to read more heartwarming stories of creativity and compassion.