A heartwarming video has revealed the remarkable bond between an autistic girl and her cat.
Six-year-old Iris Grace Halmshaw bathes, plays and sleeps with her cat Thula.
The Maine Coon has helped Iris come out of her shell and overcome her fear of water.
Iris, from Leicestershire, was diagnosed with severe autism in 2011, at just two-years-old.
Her parents decided to get Thula after hearing of the benefits of how interaction with animals can help autistic children.
Eye contact was a rare occurrence, she didn’t want to or know how to play with us, showed obsessive behavior, got desperately distressed when we took her near any other children and her sleep patterns were all over the place.
– Iris’ mum wrote on her website
Since the family got Thula in 2014, the pair have become inseparable. They take baths together, play together, and sleep together.
Iris also began to speak after Thula’s arrival, giving her instructions like “more cat” or “sit cat”.
Iris is an internationally acclaimed child artist and has been producing art since the age of three. https://www.facebook.com/IrisGracePainting/
Iris’s astonishing tale is told by her mother Arabella in her book, Iris Grace, released last month. https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/find-your-next-read/extracts/clippings/2016/mar/iris-grace-by-arabella-carter-johnson/
In the book, Arabella writes: “Thula was at Iris’s side from the moment she saw her and slept in her arms during her first night like a guardian angel.
“When Iris was looking at her books, she would delicately feel Thula’s ears and her long whiskers, or hold her tail at the tip, casually twiddling with the fur as if it were her own.”
They understood one another in a way that we would always struggle to. There was an undeniable bond between them – a powerful connection that we had been searching for all this time.
If Iris woke at night, Thula was there to settle her. It was as though she instinctively knew what to do. She would bring Iris a small toy in her mouth and drop it beside her.
– An extract from the book Iris Grace https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/find-your-next-read/extracts/clippings/2016/mar/iris-grace-by-arabella-carter-johnson/
See also: How a cat enabled an autistic six year old to communicate – BBC 13-03-2017 https://youtu.be/CaHfn0N15Js
See also: Maine Coon Cat Helps Autistic Girl Overcome Her Fear of Water – ITV 15-06-2016 https://youtu.be/nZNB2tRcha0
See also: My Child, ECT (electric shock) and Me (Documentary) – BBC 20-05-2017 https://youtu.be/BSVI0Mcnfj8
See also: 10-YEAR OLD AUTISTIC GIRL SINGS JAW-DROPPING VERSION OF LEONARD COHEN’S ‘HALLELUJAH’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idh92r_ctPc