Tank, the Therapy Cat

Pet therapy programs are a great way to help people with pets.

Tank the Therapy CatMy name is Tank, I’m a 25-pound Ragdoll cat, and here’s my story. Nobody wanted to adopt a huge 8-year old cat, and the card on my cage at the shelter said I was due to go to heaven the very next day.  I was pretty scared, as you can imagine.  I remember lying in this cage that was way too small for me, when a lady approached me. I meow’d and meow’d, batted my big blue eyes and begged her to take me home. I guess she felt sorry for me, because the next thing I knew, I was being placed in a carrier, and off I went to my new home, a 150-mile car ride away.  Mom told me she drove all that way just for me.   I never had much experience riding in a car, and I didn’t like it very much at first, but now I love it. I go on road trips with my brother Elvis, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, who is a Therapy Dog.  We’ve seen some remarkable sites; the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Vancouver Island, and many more; traveling in an old VW camper bus.  My last trip was 6 weeks long, and we visited 21 states.   I look forward to our trips because I know every morning Mom will take me out on my leash to experience a new adventure with new smells.  I’m never allowed outside without my leash.   She tells me outside cats only live an average of 3 years, so I’m very careful not to break the rules.

Tank the Therapy Cat 4I thought I was just a normal cat, but Mom told me I have some special qualities.  I’m very calm, never scratch, bite or hiss, love cuddles and pets, purr immediately when someone shows me affection,  and anyone can pick me up and hold me.  She told me I’d be a perfect therapy cat.  “Therapy cat”, I said.  “What is that? “ I was soon to find out.  After passing a rigorous testing process, I became a certified therapy cat with Love on 4 Paws in Los Angeles. That was two years ago.   I’m now 12 years old, and I love my job. I visit hospitals, senior homes, schools for special needs children, and any place where folks need a little love.   I even go to colleges during finals week to help de-stress the students.  The staff and nurses love me.  They make special requests for me to visit. My job is so rewarding, and because of my pet therapy work, I’m somewhat of a star. I was asked to pose for a diet cat food commercial. Mom told them I wasn’t fat, just big boned, but they took me, anyway. You may see me in an upcoming commercial.  I have to tell you, though; my most rewarding experience has been putting smiles on the faces of those who need a little cheering up.   Mom brings me in a stroller and everyone smiles and laughs when they see rolling in. I’m so happy doing what I do. I get hugs and pets from everyone I meet. This is the purrrfect job for a cat like me.

Tank the Therapy Cat 3

Tank the Therapy Cat 2


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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Jill Aspy says:

    I love Tank and you, for adopting him and refusing to take no for an answer!!!!!!!

  2. Patti Johnson says:

    My heart just swelled with love and appreciation for you, Elvis and Tank while reading Tank’s story. What an awesome life you lead with your two best friends. Traveling around in your old VW bus with a wonderful Therapy Dog & Cat! To me, that sounds like a perfect life. Thank you so much for sharing Tank’s story with us! And THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for rescuing Tank and giving him such a wonderful life and a purpose. Helping all the people in need with their unconditional affection and patience…just so very marvelous and wonderful. Truly. <3

    What a gentle giant your Tank is… Beautiful pictures of beautiful souls! Thank goodness there are people like you in this world and special animals like Tank and Elvis! 🙂

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  3. Loved Tank’s story!! He is such a gorgeous boy, with a disposition that sounds just like my Annie, also adoped from a shelter after a very long search. My Annie’s story was featured on Floppycats ‘Ragdoll of the Week” in December. https://www.floppycats.com/annie-ragdoll-of-the-week.html . I’m so very glad that a big, beautiful, and gentle boy like Tank has found a great forever home and even a furbrother! I wish him a long and healthy life.

  4. bbbellanger says:

    Will u come see me in Inez Texas when I have ankle surgery this summer? I have a RAgdoll CROSS named Muss Kitty that’s only 11 lbs…we would both love your company!
    Bernadette Bellanger
    361 579 8331

  5. Gina Lombardi Tidwell says:

    I think I’m in love with Tank and wish he could visit me in NC. What a hunka burnin’ love! 🙂

  6. Deb Smith says:

    My, that’ s one beautiful big kitty.

    Age and food bills discourage many, responsible, but perhaps, loving owners.

    It’s great that people still care for pets purchased irresponsibly.

    So many shelters are running out of funds, and so many fashionable animals become last weeks accessory .

  7. omgosh what a wonderful story! tank, you are a very handsome cat and i’m so happy that your mom found you and took you home to take advantage of all of your wonderful gifts. and i don’t think you are fat at all, you are luscious!! and your work is so helpful to so many. cats are the best therapy of all! your photos are wonderful! what a beautiful cat you are!

  8. There’s something about Tank that makes you giggle and cry at the same time! That’s just from reading about him – being around him in person must be quite the experience!!

    Why did you go to the shelter just for him – were you looking for a Ragdoll specifically or was there some other reason? Were they able to give you any background information on him and why he was there?

    Did you train him to become a therapy cat or did you simply facilitate what was naturally his dream job?! What is the process for a cat?

    Thanks for sharing The Tank with us!!

    1. nreagan333@aol.com says:

      Hi Christy,

      I was really looking for a Ragdoll Cat. I heard about their great disposition and dog-like characteristics, and looked everywhere; shelters, rescues, and breeders for 6 months. I would have bought one, but I couldn’t find a reputable breeder in my area who had one available. When I saw Tank on rescueme.org, I got in my car and drove the 150 miles. He was a surrender, in quarantine, and the shelter wouldn’t let me adopt him at first. The tag on his cage said he would be destroyed the very next day without even given an opportunity to be adopted. The shelters are overcrowded, so they destroy surrenders first, since nobody will be looking for their lost pet. I sat in a chair at the shelter, cried, and told the staff I wasn’t leaving without him. After waiting for about 2 hours, a supervisor finally agreed to let me adopt him if I would sign a release stating they were not responsible for any medical issues he may have.

      I did get some history. He originally belonged to a family who had a daughter with rheumatoid arthritis. They bought two dogs and were training them to be companion dogs for her. Tank (that wasn’t his name) was creating a nuisance, so they decided to re-home him. They advertised him on Craigslist, and nobody responded, so they took him to the shelter.

      This is Tank’s dream job. His disposition is perfect for a therapy cat, but I had to train him to walk on a leash and ride in the car. Therapy pets must be bathed within 24 hours of a visit, and the first time I bathed him, he just sat there. I was amazed. He is also certified with Pet Partners, a national pet therapy organization, so if you are interested in your Ragdoll becoming a therapy cat, you can check out their website As far as the certification process goes, a cat is passed around to many people, touched all over his body, toes, ears, everywhere, and his stroller is bumped to make sure he doesn’t freak out. Your cat will need a health certificate annually, and that’s about it. If your Ragdoll has a sweet disposition and loves to be held, then you have a good candidate. I took Tank to a college last week, and he was held by no fewer than 50 students. He loved it and purred constantly.

      Thanks for your comments. I love sharing information about him. He really is a special Ragdoll.

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