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Cats are stars of local therapeutic program

From frisky kittens to full grown cats, felines take center stage during a therapeutic rescue program hosted by LifeQuest Inc.

LifeQuest is a psychosocial rehabilitation day program for adults housed in the former Washington High School building.

Carrie Garcia, part of the support staff team, oversees the program along with her Yahweh’s Heart Feline Rescue.

“I work directly with the local animal shelter, getting the cats from the shelter, and I oversee their veterinary care,” Garcia said. “Our folks love it because they get to come down here and play with the cats. The cats get socialization, which makes it easier for them to get adopted.”

The program maintains as many as eight cats at one time. LifeQuest members assist in the daily care of the cats, and they develop emotional stability and coping skills in the process.

“It lets us practice our independence skills for when we want to take care of a pet of our own,” noted Travis J. Brinson.

Garcia agreed.

“They help clean the room and they learn what is involved in taking care of a pet,” she said.

In conjunction with Paws for Wellness, the facility offers Reading with a Purrpose. Members share favorite books with the cats, allowing them the opportunity to practice reading skills while increasing their self-esteem and confidence.

“This is open to all of our members and we probably have a rotation of 40 members who come through here,” said LifeQuest  program director Adam Congleton.

The public may adopt cats directly through LifeQuest, according to Garcia. The adoption fee is $75. While in the program, the felines’ vet costs are covered, including the fees for spaying/neutering, shots and basic medical care.

Much of the program’s funding is possible through donations from local businesses and individuals. But the value of pairing up LifeQuest members with a feline is immeasurable.

“It makes me feel good,” said Kim Cayton. “It makes me feel calmer, when I’m sad or anxious.”

For more information about this program, call 252-975-8080 or visit the LifeQuest and Paws for Wellness Facebook pages.