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A therapy cat? Is that even possible?

Definitely! Cats can be of extreme support in Animal Assisted Interventions. There is the belief that cats are not to be trusted, don't care about people and ca't be educated. Did you know that it is actually the opposite? Just like dogs, cats have a high sense of empathy and really enjoy human interaction. It is important that owners understand the cat's needs and behaviours though. 

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Illustration owned by ICofA

Cats can really enjoy going out for walks or engage in training activities, it ensures mental stimulation and enrichment, stimulating the cat's wellbeing

In AAI, cats can be less confronting than dogs (for people who are scared of dogs). Their soft fur and purr brings a deep sense of calmness and happiness to humans

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Illustration owned by ICofA

AAI in practice

An AAI cat can be a visiting cat, it can do tricks, play, go for walks or just enjoy a warm lap and have a relaxing moment


A cat can be trained to numerous activities jut like dogs. Did you know we offer the course Do As I Do for cats?


Just like with dogs, it is very important that a cat is chosen with care, making sure that it had the proper introduction to life with humans and in a household.


Not all cats are suitable for AAI.The cat should enjoy what it is doing, which is why is so important to test them. as well. 

Testing your cat

Although the test itself is very similar to the PADA Dog test, the protocol for the PADA Cat test is quite different. In the following information you can see how to apply for the test. 

The cat must be at least 1 year old to be tested.

1. Fill in the form to request a PADA Cat test (ICofA will contact you within a week after your form submission. ICoFA is the organisation which developed the PADA tests and therefore coordinates them.)


2. You will be asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding the tested cat and also receive information regarding which format of service you would like to have (prices listed below):

  • Organise, prepare and execute the test by yourself (you will receive the protocol to do so)

  • Receive online support from a certified PADA Cat Evaluator to assist you in organising and preparing the test

  • Receive support from a certified PADA Cat Evaluator in person. This can occur at the Evaluator's testing           location or you can hire the Evaluator to come to a location of your choice (the location must be unknown for the cat). Please mind that at the moment there are 4 PADA Cats Evaluators around the world: 1 in Sweden, 2 in The Netherlands and 1 in Japan.​

3. Realise the payment of the PADA test + the service format of your choice

4. You will receive the Protocol explaining step by step how to execute the test and also, what do you need for it.


Make sure you have:

  • Cat crate known by the cat

  • Favourite cat's treats

  • Favourite cat's toys

  • Litterbug with usual filling

  • Box unknown by the cat

  • Camera or phone to record test

  • One unfamiliar room for the cat (can be at a colleague's office, friend's house; at least 15m2)

  • Two unfamiliar persons (for the cat) to help you conduct the test

5. Follow the steps in the protocol for the submission of the test​​​

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Test by yourself

- 175 Euro 

- 85 Euro (Low Income Countries)

** + 30 Euro per video submission that do not match the criteria

Test with support in person

- 175 Euro +Evaluator travelling costs

-  85 Euro (Low Income Countries) + Evaluator travelling costs 

Test with online support

-  175 + 30 Euro 

- 85 + 15 Euro (Low Income Countries)

Illustration owned by ICofA

My cat passed the PADA test! 

Can I start inserting my cat in AAI?

Passing the PADA test is not everything. It means that your cat is suitable for further training in AAI.

If you want to receive the certification as visiting AAI team, there are two more steps you need to follow:

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Illustration owned by ICofA

The PADA Cats Team

Christine Olsen

Christine Olsen



Tahira Tarquini

The Netherlands


Suzan Vlaming-Kikkert

The Netherlands


Fumi Higaki


Dr. Christine Olsen has a master degree in ethology, and a PhD in public health focusing on animal-assisted interventions and animal welfare. She has previously worked several years as the “feline technique” for Royal Canin in Norway. Dr. Olsen has published several peer-reviewed papers, which are frequently cited. She gives lectures about cat behaviour, like for veterinarians and animal protection organisations. Dr. Olsen was group leader of the IAHAIO Task force for small animals in visiting programs where cats where included. Dr. Olsen has evaluated cat behaviour since 1997, and was the initiator of PADA Cats. Her own cat, Ozzie, is a certified AAI Cat.

Hello, I am Tahira and live in The Netherlands. I started my PADA path in 2021 as Technician and Leader for the PADA Dog test and currently I am finishing my education to become a PADA Dog Evaluator as well. Being on the field of AAI since 2017 I've seen how important it is to have suitable animals to realise their jobs. Thanks to PADA I also learned that more important than suitability, an animal should enjoy what it is doing, and PADA allows owners and professionals to see that by observing spontaneous and natural behavior. For this reason I also had one of my cats (Shani) tested with the PADA Cat test, and he is now a certified AAI cat. Which led me into wanting to contribute even further to the screening of AAI cats and into becoming a PADA Cat Evaluator.

Hello I am Suzan. Born on the Island Texel in the Netherlands. In 2022 I became a PADA Dog evaluator. And in 2023 there starts a new adventure. Becoming a PADA cat evaluator. Since I was born I was surrounded by cats. I followed studies on cat behavior. Now we have three cats at home. And one of them is a certified PADA therapy cat, after taking the cat PADA test with good result. With him, we go to elderly people, with dementia, who can cuddle him. He can also just lay beside them. Its so Nice to do this with him. The happy faces of the people, the contact the cat makes with them. The wonderful stories that they remember about their own animals. I am So grateful we can test cats, to increase animal welfare, and hope more people can enjoy the healing power of animals!

Fumi is the founder and director of the award-winning volunteer organization, Ichinomiya Animal Assisted Education Dog Club located in Aichi, Japan. She serves as a lecturer of Animal Assisted Education, Dog Training for Animal Assisted Interventions, Do as I Do Dog Training and Do as I Do Cat Training for several international educational institutions. Fumi and her club members are working together to become the first certified PADA team in Japan! Published in 2020, Fumi and her beloved cat, “Ebisu”, participated in Dr. Claudia Fugazza’s social learning research on cats and Do as I Do. The innovative study provided the first evidence of a cat’s ability to imitate human action. ”Did we find a copycat? Do as I Do in a domestic cat (Felis catus). Implementing social learning ability into the training of dogs and cats, especially their ability to learn from humans, and extending to others the benefits of the social learning approach in the field of Animal Assisted Interventions are crucial to Fumi's philosophy of teaching and learning.

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