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SFU students paws for first Kitten Therapy session stress relief

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS Photo)
Summary

New kitten therapy sessions help teach SFU students about health services

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – Students at Simon Fraser University are getting some feline stress relief, with the University’s first kitten therapy session.

Five tiny kittens were on hand to play and cuddle with the long line of students who gathered outside.

The event, hosted by the Health and Counselling Services Centre, follows the success of the puppy therapy sessions which have been running since 2012, and helps promote the centre’s services.

“It’s just the relationship with the animal, but what we like also is the connection with the community this creates. So having the volunteers come over and talk to the students and tell them a little bit about their life experiences,” the centre’s Adriana Contreras says.

Puppy and kitten sessions have exploded in popularity as a way to cope with exam or general life stress. The sessions have met some criticism as an indication of a lack of resilience in the younger generation, for example students at some US universities hosting sessions following the presidential election of Donald Trump.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I think it is important beyond the kitten and puppy therapy,” Contreras says. “It’s about creating connections with the community.”

All the kittens come from the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) and were up for adoption. VOKRA hopes the therapy sessions encourage people to either adopt or get their cat fixed.

This year the association took in 105 pregnant cats and resulted in 530 kittens, all of which needed foster homes.