Amazing Therapy Cat Helps Girl Swim, Paint, Study And Generally Make Her World A Better Place

Thula has been a bather, a biker, a boater, a nanny and all-around source of support to help her owner with autism.

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Cat Thula goes everywhere with Iris, and it makes both of their worlds a brighter place.

When a cat changes a person’s life for the better, pet people aren’t surprised. But when that cat’s contributions are so significant, the world seems to take notice.

Thula the Maine Coon’s role as a therapy cat for a young UK girl with autism is capturing the attention of several news outlets. The cat helps her young charge, Iris, with everything from biking to bathing to sleeping, and now the two are featured in a new book “Iris Grace.”

Thula and Iris are inseparable. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

When Iris was 2, her parents began looking for ways to help her with communication and comfort, two things Iris’ severe form of autism made difficult. They believed in animal therapy and after visiting horses and dogs, they decided to try a third animal, a special cat named Thula.

“From the very start, they just seemed to connect,” Iris’ mom, Arabella Carter-Johnson, said in an interview on BBC’s “The One Show” last week. “They just did everything together. She even had a bath with Iris and that seemed to sort out that problem.”

Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

Thula and Iris explore the countryside together. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

Bathtime had previously been a challenge for Iris, who experienced extreme anxiety around the water. Now, with the help of Thula, Iris bathes without stress and even swims, accompanied, of course by her feline companion. Nearly everything she does is alongside Thula.

“It was just an incredible change in Iris,” Carter-Johnston said in the British TV program. “They were just best friends… therapist and best pal all sort of wrapped up into one.”

Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

Thula’s sense of adventure is apparent on boat trips with her family. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

The pair take walks, ride bikes in the countryside and embark on boat voyages together. Thula shows curiosity and courage at every turn, and no small amount of love and care for her owner.

Thula also helps Iris with her other form of therapy: painting. Iris creates unique watercolors that are so eye-catching that collectors have begun buying them. Angelina Jolie is reported to be among those who’ve purchased her art.  Thula could be to thank for that.

Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

Thula has influenced Iris’ art. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

“We began to see some cat shapes within her painting so she was definitely influenced by Thula,” Carter-Johnston said on “The One Show.”

“Thula would get up on the table before Thula was even there. Just be ready and waiting, the little artist’s assistant.”

Thula has helped Iris with every part of her life. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

Thula has helped Iris with every part of her life. Via IrisGracePainting/Facebook

The cat has certainly made a huge impact on not only Iris, but the whole family.

“I certainly wouldn’t have thought we’d have a pet like Thula… we can just go with the flow and follow Iris,” Carter-Johnson said. “And she’s happy.”

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Comments

  • That was such a heart warming and loving story of Thula and Iris ????
    I love Maine Coons too????????????
    I miss my Max????????????

    Kelly March 2, 2016 12:37 pm Reply
  • I too have a beautiful cat called Sophie, who was a rescue cat over two years ago, having spent her early years in an abusive home, caged and uncared for. She was pretty cranky and non-trusting when she first came to share my home, but with perseverance and much love and patience – not to mention hundreds of pounds on multiple vet visits and steroid injections, Sophie now enjoys life to the full, and never ceases to amaze and gladden my heart. Best of all, she’s totally confirmed my unshakable belief that cats really do make the best people

    May Thula and Iris spend many many years together, loving and learning from each other, and hopefully also teaching others that where there is love and hope and, of course, someone like Thula or my BFF Sophie, life can be so wonderful for anyone. All it takes is a little trust …

    Hils xxx

    Hilary Conway March 13, 2016 12:32 am Reply

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