by Janet Blue on October 10, 2014



This book, Purr Therapy by Kathy McCoy, PhD, should come with two warnings:

Purr Therapy1) Have a box of tissues nearby while reading. Guess I should have known that from the cover photo.

2) It will break your heart…twice!

With that said, I strongly recommend this book.

Purr Therapy is part case study, part memoir and part recommendations in how to deal with loss and grief. An added plus are the many photos of McCoy’s cats.

The first portion offers the case studies from Kathy McCoy’s psychotherapy practice. It explains how those who chose to work with her original therapy cat, Timmy, a Burmese/red tabby mix, and later Marina, a flame-point Siamese, were helped by their interactions with these cats.

Though Timmy and Marina had distinctively different personalities, they both were able to intuit what individual clients needed during their therapy sessions. It might be sitting quietly next to or in an individual’s lap, giving the client the opportunity to participate in a kitty play session or offering a number of other personalized interactions.

For me, the sections of this book that resonated most were those pertaining to dealing with loss and grief.

The author is all too familiar with loss. We first meet McCoy’s seventeen-year-old, gregarious cat, Freddie, who is in the process of dying from cancer and kidney failure. Later we grieve with her when she loses Timmy. His demise from poisoning by melamine-tainted cat food (despite McCoy and her husband’s vigilant efforts to keep abreast of all pet food recalls) comes within 48 hours of symptoms appearing. Later we find ourselves grieving again when McCoy’s second therapy cat, Marina, succumbs to undiagnosed Feline Leukemia.

In the section, “Marina’s Enduring Lessons for Patients — and for Me,” McCoy shares how she learned some valuable lessons about grieving. She says, “I learned that grief over the loss of an animal companion is often at least as intense as the loss of a human family member or friend.” She explains that this intense grief makes sense as our animals are our daily companions, where as we might go weeks, months or more without seeing a human family member or friend. She points out that this grief can be even more difficult to deal with when others without animals in their lives do not understand or offer support after such a loss.

McCoy states, “A major message of the book is that great blessings can come to us when we’re not expecting them—and rescue animals can be such a blessing in our lives.”

For anyone who as ever lost a beloved animal companion, even if it was long ago, this is a must read. I know that I will re-read the sections about dealing with grief and loss the next time a friend, a fellow blogger or I lose one of our cherished companions. Much can be learned from McCoy’s observations and advice that cannot be gleaned from just one reading.

Purr Therapy retails for $15.95 but is available from Amazon for $11.99. In conjunction with this review, I will be giving away one copy of the book. Leave a comment on this post prior to Monday, October 13, at 8 p.m. EDT to be entered in the drawing. The winner will be selected using Random.org and announced on Tuesday, October 14.

Cat4We will be having our Sunday Selfies Blog Hop again this weekend, so it is time to start primping for those close-ups and practicing your best kitty smiles.


Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review of Purr Therapy. I did receive a book for myself and one to give away. All opinions expressed are totally my own. 

Sherri-Ellen T-D. October 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Diz lady what rote da book iz rute…our hu’Manz spend so much time wif us da loss of us iz much harder to bear!
Mum haz not seen her Sister in over a yeer or her Brother fer 19 yeerz butt she haz seen me allmost ebery day since she ‘dopted me…onlee when she used to go see her Sister did she not see me n dat wuud onlee be fur no more den 3 dayz at a time…
Now dat me haz bin sick wif me IBD n Pancreatitis n FHV me Mum will NOT go away!
When me goez to Summerland Mum zi gonna need lotz of lub n care…butt me iz here fer now…..takin care of Mum as best me can 😉
Much lub Nylablue =^,,^=
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Little Binky and Granny October 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm

That sounds like a very good book. It’s terrible to lose your furry furriends. Granny always cries when she is talking about her lost furries. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was. Well..we have our tissues ready…in case we won’t win :D…Just kidding 😀 Pawkisses for Good Luck to all the entries 🙂 <3
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Judy & C.A.T.S October 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

This sounds like a really good book. Love, Cali, Andy, Tater and Shelly (C.A.T.S)

Austin Towers October 12, 2014 at 5:58 am

Sounds like a special book indeed! Please don’t enter me though, as mum says she’s not strong enough to read anything that would make her cry !! xx
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The Canadian Cats October 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I doubt we will win but the book is fascinating. We are very close to our humans and some days they are our everything as we are theirs.

(((Shoko and Kali)))
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Fur Everywhere October 11, 2014 at 5:50 am

I would love to read this book! It sounds like an especially timely read for me given that we just recently lost our precious Jewel. Maybe we will win 🙂
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Melissa and Truffles October 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

I don’t need to be entered because I’ve read the book. Your review is absolutely wonderful, as is the book. It made me cry my eyes out but I found it to be very therapeutic as well. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever loved and lost a beloved pet.
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Cathy Keisha October 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm

It sounds like a good book but please don’t enter me. TW is at the part of her life where she can’t read anything sad like that.
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BeadedTail October 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm

There’s no way our Mommy can read that book! She avoids all things that she knows will make her cry since she doesn’t need any extra nudging for her eyes to get leaky! It does sound like a good book but nope, she couldn’t do it!
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The Island Cats October 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm

What a good review. The mom usually avoids books that make her cry…but this sounds like one she shouldn’t pass up.
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meowmeowmans October 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

That book sounds wonderful. The pain of losing a beloved pet is so raw and deep. Thank you for this great review!
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Ellen Pilch October 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm

It sounds like a wonderful, poignant book, but I don’t think I can handle it. I will add it to my Goodreads list, but not read it yet. There has been so much loss in the cat blogging world lately, that I need a break from reading the sadness. My heart goes out to all who have had losses recently- or ever for that matter.

Angel AbbyGrace October 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I read so much after I lost Abby. Trying to seek answers to questions that were unanswerable. But, I did educate myself a lot about the grief process and about dying. Some of it helped me and one book in particular called Grief & Grieving was truly beneficial. I re read that book on the 1 year Angelversary of Abby’s death and it helped me realize how far I had traveled in the span of 12 months. I for one am of the belief that no matter what or who the person who is grieving over, it is a real and difficult for them. I know, those of us here in the CB do not diminish the power of the grief that is felt over the loss of our closest furry families but so many do discount it. I myself am still dealing with the loss of my dearest companion, and still seeking answers to those questions which will probably never be answered. Not until I can hold her once again when she greets me at the Bridge.
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Maxwell, Faraday & Allie October 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

We’re in complete agreement about how hard a companion animal loss can hit a human. It can be every bit as devastating as losing a human family member!
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Brian Frum October 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I have heard lots of good things about that book!
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speedyrabbit October 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I love books that give a few sniffles,xx Rachel
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Colehaus Cats October 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Good review! We look forward to hearing who won this pawsome book! Purrs…

Connie October 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

that looks like a lovely book!
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Moggiepurrs October 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

Would love to win a copy of this book. Your review was excellent!
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Marty the Manx October 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

Wonderful review!
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Worli October 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

This sounds like a great book and nice review. I like the cover too, A book cover is an invitation – a way of seducing the reader.
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Sammy October 10, 2014 at 9:55 am

Oh it sounds like a very touching, sweet, poignant kind of read…..one that all of us who have and love animals has had to face all too many times in our lives but is REAL. I’m sure it’s a very moving read……..certainly is a wonderfully done review!

Hugs, Pam (with Sam)
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McGuffy Ann Morris October 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

Great review, my friend. This is my kund of book. I have got to get this. Purr Therapy keeps me sane, literally. Holding a cat, even being near one, is the best medicine for me. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.
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Kitty Cat Chronicles October 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

This sounds like a wonderful book. I would especially like to read the sections with the case studies about her two therapy cats. With Sophie getting certified to be a therapy cat, I would love to read about other therapy cat’s experiences. The grief sections sounds like it is really good too. If we don’t win the copy, we will for sure be buying one! Thanks for sharing about this book and having such a cool giveaway.
Sampy sends as many kisses to Astrid as there are butterflies on the Earth. He also sends lots of purrs. Love and hugs from all!

Sue October 10, 2014 at 7:39 am

This sounds like the kind of book I really needed 14 years ago when I cried for three days straight when I had to put my beautiful tortie Mica down.
And since I have 4 senior cats now, I know I should be ready and I think this book might help me be ready.

The REAL Maple Syrup Mob October 10, 2014 at 6:42 am

Very few people understood how deeply we felt grief when members of our furry family died. I’m guessing,by your review, that the book would give the comfort that’s lacking from people around us (well, except our great kitty bloggy peeps!)
Jane x
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LuAnn Braley October 10, 2014 at 6:15 am

Everybody needs a good cry now and then. It looks like Timmy and Marina (and Freddy) are still on the job, providing therapy. Purr (rock) on, kitties! :O)
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Molly The Wally October 10, 2014 at 4:58 am

Sounds like a lovely book to read with a box of tissues to hand. Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly
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Deztinee High October 10, 2014 at 3:16 am

Dat’s pawsum. So glad yous liked da book. Sowwy it made yous cwy, but glad it helped yous learn even mowe ’bout dealin’ wiff gwief.

Luv ya’

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Pipo &Minko ~ WeBeesSiameezers October 10, 2014 at 2:23 am

That kind of boo surely appeals to meowmy…we have 4 kitty angels here, and meowmy herself has 3 doggy angels in her furmily, and pawppy has several doggy and kitty angels in his furmily, too.

We think its going to be good read.
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Summer October 10, 2014 at 2:20 am

This sounds like a great book, and as a therapy cat in training, a very valuable read for me!
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Mitsubachicats October 10, 2014 at 2:03 am

Sounds like a lovely book.
Purrs, sritches and hedbonks from the cat colony to everybody out there.
Mitsu and gang

Kjelle Bus aka Charlie Rascal October 10, 2014 at 1:14 am

Sounds like a lovely book even if you need tissues 🙂
I´m ready for your Sunday Selfie Bloghop 😀

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Caren Gittleman October 10, 2014 at 12:28 am

wonderful review, sounds like one I would love! Pls don’t enter me though………..I have a STACK here waiting to be read/reviewed and honestly can’t remember if this one is already in it! Good luck to all wo enter!
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