What a story - what a Maine Coon therapy cat!

Iris and Thula sleep together
Iris and Thula sleep together. Photo: ITV.

For me, and for many others, there is nothing more delightful than a therapy cat working their magic with an autistic child. And the magic they weave allows autistic children to bloom and enter into day-to-day life. It is a kind of magic as they tease out from the autistic child the ability to express themselves and enjoy life more fully. In this instance the therapy cat happens to be a Maine Coon. 

Iris and Thula in the bath
Iris and Thula in the bath. Photo: ITV.


Interestingly, the child's mother believes that Maine Coons like water. I do not think that that is true if I'm being honest. Some domestic cats accept and some even like water but Maine Coons are not known to like water. As it happens (fortunately) Thula does like water and you see them having a bath together. And you also see them in the swimming pool together. That's wonderful. And they do everything together.

Note: Gloria Stephens (Legacy of the Cat) a past cat show judge and breeder states that 'Maine Coons love playing with water but some hate being bathed."

As I said it can't be said that all Maine Coons like messing around in water.


The child's name is Iris Grace Halmshaw. The story is from 2017 and at that date she was seven years of age. She lives in Leicestershire, England, UK. She suffered from severe autism. She was featured on British television. This does not surprise me because it's just such a wonderful, heartwarming story.

And I like the way Iris's mother describes what went on. She does a brilliant job in telling the story. Pretty well any species of animal can be a therapy animal but often times you see dogs carry out this role. And you can see that Iris's mum thought about trying a horse but Iris did not connect with horses.

Iris and Thula - love
Iris and Thula - love. Photo: ITV.

However, there was an instant connection between her and Thula. There is no explaining that. It is just within Iris to like cats and they do everything together. Thula has helped Iris with speaking and as you can see in the video overcoming her fear of water.

I don't think Iris knows or cares that her beloved cat companion is a purebred cat; a beautiful-looking feline (a grey/brown tabby). To her Thula is her gateway to a more normal life and a great companion with whom she can communicate.

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