Kittens Nalah and Harry Houdini were found late last year by SwanCare maintenance officer Scott Arkwright in a soon to be demolished building at SwanCare’s Bentley Park. Abandoned and severely dehydrated, staff rushed the kittens to the local vet who, besides heat exhaustion, gave them a full bill of health.
“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 says. “They had been there in more than 40 degree heat so we weren’t sure they would survive – they were tiny.”
Two other kittens were also found, along with the mother, and while the mother and one kitten have been re-homed, unfortunately the other kitten died.
Nalah and Harry are now enjoying their new home at SwanCare’s residential facility Tandara where they are been trained as therapy cats.
SwanCare Activities Coordinator Teresa Strelley says 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 says. “They are also very intuitive; they just seem to know when someone is in need.”
She explains specific training of the kittens will ensure they are at ease with being led on a harness and handled by many. “So far they are making great pupils, being toilet-trained at just four weeks old,” she says.
As for the human residents, Ms Strelley says they are just buzzing around the kittens and there is a new vibe at the care facilities.
“The residents are also fundraising for the kittens’ food and vet needs, and bringing gifts for the kittens,” she says. “That sense of responsibly and ownership is having a really positive impact.”
One Tandara resident, 74-year-old Cathy Lau says everyone here can’t stop talking about the kittens and how excited they are to have them around. “They are such a wonderful asset and will bring so much joy to us all,” she says.