Blind Kitten with Heart Condition Lives Out Final Months With Ultimate Bucket List

When good Samaritan saw a tiny, sick kitten struggling in the middle of the road, he scooped him up and immediately took him to the nearest animal hospital. A staffer at Coral Springs Animal Hospital in Florida quickly realized that the 2-month-old kitten’s prognosis wasn’t good, and decided to adopt him herself — with the help of her coworkers.

“When I first saw Lemon, I knew I was going to bring him home,” said Bryanna Rosario, a vet tech
“After Lemon’s initial exam knowing he had grade 4 heart murmur, which is pretty significant for a kitten, I took him to the cardiologist to have an echocardiogram. His prognosis was poor… she believed he’d only live for another few months.”

Lemon was born blind and with severe heart condition. “His heart is like Swiss cheese and isn’t pumping blood where it’s supposed to go.”
But little Lemon is happy, playful, purring with no pain. Bryanna wants to give him a chance for a happy life surrounded by love and adventure even if it may be for only a short period of time.

“His quality of life is not being affected by his heart right now. After understanding Lemon wouldn’t live a long life, I decided to create a bucket list for him so that way he can live the rest of his few months happy,” said Bryanna. They created Lemon’s Bucket List, and are trying to plan as many outings and activities for him as humanly possible.

Little Lemon is being cared for at the Coral Springs Animal Hospital. He is like a member of the family to everyone there. Lemon recently visited the park the other day and sniffed all the wonderful and interesting scents he could find. He was very excited and even tried to catch the leaves and play with branches. You would never know he’s blind when this wonder boy uses all his other amazing senses.

A few weeks ago, they gave Lemon his first birthday party. He enjoyed his birthday cake and celebrated it with all his friends. They even took him to the beach where he had so much fun running around and playing with the sand. He was fascinated by the sound of the ocean waves and the cool breeze. It was by far his most favorite adventure.

Watch the cute beach video:

Little lemon is also quite an artistic as well. He paw painted this beautiful piece of art. We have a natural born Picasso. They also elected Lemon to be the first feline president of the Coral Springs Animal Hospital. He won with a unanimous vote.
Spent a day at the car racetrack…

Lemon has also found a girlfriend, Rajah the cat. They adore each other, and little Rajah acts as his seeing eye cat.

“Lemon is a super sweet and spunky kitty who will shower you in kisses and steal all your food,” said Bryanna.
“My time with Lemon is going to be short but the sweetest.”

Lemon is enjoying every single one of his adventures and living life to fullest. He is so happy that he falls asleep with a smile on his face. Their time together will be short, but they are determined to make the time as incredible and filled with love as possible, and that’s what matters.

Share this wonderful story with your friends. You can follow Lemon and his adventures on Facebook. If you would like to contribute to his bucket list, click here.
(h/t: Love Meow)

10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets

Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.

The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.

From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.

Let’s talk about those benefits.

Better Mental Health

Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.

The Data: Pets and Mental Health

A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.

  • Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
  • Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
  • Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.

Better Physical Health

Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.

Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.

Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.

The Data: Pets and Physical Health

  • Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
  • In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
  • A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.

Healthier Aging Process

Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.

The Data: Pets and Aging

  • Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
  • Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
  • A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.

When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.