Meet 7-year-old Iris Grace, the girl with autism whose beautiful artworks shaken the Internet for a while. She received many attention not only because of her paintings but also the story behind her success.
Iris is a girl with a special condition, so she needs someone to accompany her, at least in her early years. Though had almost given up on the search, one day, her parents brought home a friendly kitten, then the two bonded almost immediately. The little furry friend was Thula, who was an almost 1 year old Maine Coon at that time.
Maine Coon cats are known for their intelligence and gentle nature, and Thula differs in no way. She has been a great help for Iris: “Thula has lowered daily anxieties in life and keeps Iris calm,” said Iris’ mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, “but equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social. She will talk more to Thula, saying little phrases like ‘sit cat.’”
“What ever activity we are doing Thula is there and wants to help and be involved.”
“… she offers Iris her companionship, friendship and supports me in encouraging Iris to interact.”
“Iris has been through a stage over the last year of hating baths and having her hair washed. Thula has been getting in the bath tub with Iris and even letting me shampoo her as well to help Iris.”
Thanks to Thula, Iris has an easier time getting through her days.
Thula keeps Iris accompanied in art sessions.
“We took Iris to Equine therapy but she didn’t seem very interested in horses at that time. Then I began to think about a therapy dog.”
“Iris and the dog didn’t get along – Iris hated being licked and the tail wagging, the hyperactivity of the dog would upset her.”
Then Iris’s mother tried cat therapy, but the first attempt failed. Iris and the cat didn’t get along.
When she was about to give up, luck came to her door. Her brother’s girlfriend needed a place for her cat over Christmas holidays, and Iris connected immediately with the beautiful Siberian cat.
“It was then I realized that I just hadn’t found the right animal yet. So, it took us a long time and a lot of trial and error trying out different options but we got there in the end.”
Thula was not a therapy cat, but maybe Maine Coon cats are just natural healers: “Thula isn’t a trained service/therapy cat but I have done certain things – I got her used to wearing a harness when she was a kitten and riding in the car and on the bike. The rest she does on her own.”
Wherever Iris goes, Thula is sure to follow. Let’s wish the two a good life together.