Cats, camels and a Jesus lizard: the rise of animal-assisted therapy

Once considered eccentric, using animals in psychotherapy is becoming popular as research reveals benefits

It’s the cat lovers’ dilemma. You buy sachets of food that stink out the house, clean out litter trays, and spend hundreds on vet bills. In return, the feline companion scratches your furniture and arms, deposits dead rodents on the carpet, and occasionally disappears for three days.

“With humans, it’s survivor thinking: if I’m nice to people, they will be nice to me,” says Yoni Yehuda, an Israeli psychotherapist, as his cat Jack Daniels licks water from a jug on his office table.

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