“I met Patrick in his retirement home’s community room to help him spend quality time with his beloved cat, Kelly. Little did I know the love between this little feline and her human companion was so deep that they sat in an armchair, hugging each other, nearly motionless for an hour. ‘She means everything to me,’ Patrick said.”
“Touched By An Animal preserves the nurturing bond between people and their companion animals by helping the Elderly and others maintain this loving relationship and providing lifetime homes for cats when needed, in our home, where Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too.”
Who we are, what we do, and how we got started
…for we believe that people TOUCHED BY AN ANIMAL are BLESSED with better health, happiness and messages of unconditional, mutually-needed love …and we believe that kindness to animals, the Elderly, and each other GENTLES our world.
Volunteers help the elderly/disabled care for their companion animals (cats, dogs, birds, fish) in their homes in whatever way is needed so that they can continue living together. This can mean a daily visit to walk a dog, or weekly to change a cat’s litter box. We also provide pet food, veterinary care, and home visits or boarding for the pet while the person is in a hospital or rehabilitation facility. When permitted, we will bring the animal to visit or let them “talk” on the telephone (which both person and cat frequently do).
Sometimes we are asked to bring a cat to a lonely, elderly person whose own cat may have died or who simply needs a “live-in companion.” If the match is a good one, we leave the cat with the person for as long as desired, but we retain responsibility of ownership and provide food, vet card, occasional visits, and assurance that we will take the cat back when needed.
Usually such assistance to elderly and/or disabled persons begins with a telephone call from a hospital social worker, medical care provider, agency for the aged, or family member/friend who know of our services. Our relationship with the person and companion animals usually lasts for years, until the person passes. Their passing is with greater peace knowing that beloved feline companions can live their lives with us (dogs and birds are placed in no-kill shelters or individual homes). During the time shared between a volunteer and their charges interaction extends beyond animal care in ways that enrich the lives of all involved. Truly, we have all been touched by an animal quietly sitting on a windowsill or wagging its tail at the door, or chirping a happy song. Each touch on the surface of ordinary lives sets off unending ripples of unimagined blessings.
We provide a Lifetime Home for tossed & found kitties — or, better yet, we find them committed Adoptive Homes …for we believe that CATS-ARE-PURRSONS-TOO, who deserve respect and care for their needs throughout their lifetime.
Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too Incorporated in Illinois in 1989, Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too began as a safe haven in the home of Sister Marijon Binder for cats that elderly neighbors could no longer keep because of changing life situations. As word spread, “neighbors” from all over Chicago and the Northern/Northwest suburbs began to call begging for board for their beloved companion cats during a short term hospital or nursing home stay, and/or to keep them if/when the person died. At the same time it seems that little catnip calling cards in secret felines language were being passed around in alleys and dumping grounds where cats and kittens were in desperately unsafe situations. “We” (numbering no more than two or three soft-hearted, dedicated volunteers) responded to as many nowhere-else-to-turn elderly callers and endangered felines as we could.
What people are saying
“It’s very hard to find someone like Mattea from Touched By An Animal, who will understand and come in to help when a person can no longer do everything by herself.”
“The cats are free to roam and just be themselves. The house is clean and safe thanks to the hard work of staff and volunteers. It’s a happy place with a lot of positive energy.”
Welcome to our home! Come inside. Meet our newest residents and the dear persons these cherished cats introduced to us.
Virtual tour coming soon!
A Day in the Life
An orphaned kitten cried in the rain –
A young man saw and felt its pain.
He brought it to us and we were there for it;
Because of YOU we could care for it
“Please help me—I can’t get up today!
Do you have a volunteer who’ll come my way?
To walk my dog? I cannot say
How much it would mean, for I’m eighty today!”
Sister Marijon Binder arrived in Chicago from her California convent in 1976. Her mission at the time was to write children’s books. Over the coming years her mission changed as she became the founder of Touched by an Animal and Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too. These organizations are unique. They help the elderly keep their companion animals as long as possible and take in cats that need long or short term homes when their people are hospitalized or enter nursing homes.
The following excerpt from Jenny Wohlfarth’s article “Tossed and Found” in the December 1996/January 1997 edition of Pet Life tells some of this story:
“All my elderly neighbors had pets,” explains Sister Marijon, “and one of their biggest problems was that they couldn’t downsize, move into a nursing home or retirement community or visit family in other cities because they couldn’t stand to leave their animals. Their animals were their family.”
Sister Marion began helping her neighbors in their quest to save the scores of homeless cats in the community . . . One by one the little creatures trickled into the nun’s home. Then she organized her elderly friends into a brigade of tabby caretakers.
“We go into the homes of the elderly to walk their dogs, clean their cats’ litter boxes or change a bird cage, and we become a crucial part of their social networks,” says Sister Marijon. “These animals are like a lifeline for these people.”
Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too, which Sister Marijon says is literally funded with pennies from heaven, also recruits widows and widowers as foster parents for cats that need special attention.
The street the Sister has chosen to travel has not been without its shards of glass, its potholes and detours. When Sister Marijon was just getting Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too on its feet, she was called back to her convent in California.
“I wanted to go back, and tried for a year to make arrangements, so that I could. but too many elderly people were relying on me,” explains Sister Marijon, who eventually became disconnected from her longtime religious community. “I simply felt in my heart that God wanted me to continue taking care of these people and animals. I could not believe that He would want me to abandon them all again.”Click here to change this text