Gemma and Nancy spread the love


Animal Welfare League Australia’s Positive Ageing in the Care of Animals project continues to reap great results.

Diane Butler recently wrote to tell us how one of the companion animals assisted by our project, a 7-year-old Tonkinese cat called Gemma, brings real and continuing benefits to the life of her mum, Nancy Albon, who resides at the Ozcare Ozanam Villa aged care facility, Burleigh Heads, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Here’s what Diane had to say:

Gemma was always a very athletic outdoors cat, so we were always a bit worried about how she would adapt to living indoors. Gemma has now been at Ozanam for over two years and, fortunately, she loves all the attention she gets from the residents and staff. She really enjoys the concerts and bus trips, and she even goes to church with Mum. She is a very blessed little cat.

Gemma sits on Mum’s walker and they often go and visit the residents in high care, who respond affectionately when Gemma gives them a little kiss on the hand. She is great therapy for the people who are bed-ridden. Mum is known as the Cat Lady — but everyone knows who Gemma is.

Gemma2Mum is very content now that she has Gemma for company and they even sit up and watch TV together. Sometimes Gemma likes to play games with Mum, and it’s amazing the places she finds to hide in Mum’s room or the wardrobe, as she has worked out how to open and close the doors.

Although Gemma gets plenty of exercise walking on the lead outside, we sometimes send her on a little holiday to the Catarama boarding home where she can run around in an enclosure and climb trees. However this can only be for a couple of days at a time as Mum misses her too much and starts to fret.

The family is forever grateful to Ozanam for allowing Gemma to stay with Mum as she is a great companion and she brings a lot of joy to everyone.

For more information about AWLA’s Positive Ageing in the Care of Animals project, go to


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