Gigi, a Siamese cross, owned by Scott Head, also regularly visits those in the nursing home. Photo by Elizabeth Ingram

Local cats bring joy to those in nursing homes

Two local cats have become regular visitors at the Susanville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Owner, Scott Head, said he and his cat Elle have been doing this for 7 years. His other cat, Gigi, has been doing it for five.

“I thought it would be nice to start taking them to the nursing home,” said Head.

Head said he used to work for an ambulance and saw how lonely people can get in a nursing home.

Head decided to see how Elle would do around strangers by introducing her to the children at his church.

“All the kids wanted to hold her and show her to their parents,” said Head, “and Elle wasn’t upset one bit.”

Both Elle and Gigi are calm and do well with the residents.

Scott said he brings the cats in and they sit on the patient’s laps or curl up next to them on the bed and he chats with them for a while.

“All the residents know the cats,” said Head.

Head said he puts necklaces on his cats instead of collars, which delights many ladies at the nursing home.

“They are not properly dressed unless they have jewelry on,” said Head.

Head said he was given a stroller by local veterinarian, Dr. Taylor, which is how he brings the cats around the nursing home.

“A lot of people think I have a baby in there,” said Head, “it brings them a lot of joy when they see it’s a couple of cats.”

Head said that Elle is a breed of cat called a Chartreux and that the two of them have inspired other Chartreux owners to visit nursing homes as well.