Billy and Fraser
I’ve seen stories before of cats giving comfort to people who are ill or even dying, but this might actually be an even greater story of how the love and compassion of a cat turned a life around.
Fraser Booth is a 6 year old boy whose autism made everyday events and social interaction almost impossible, right from birth. He was angry and withdrawn, hated to be held and was sent into tantrums by any of a multitude of triggers. His family were told his condition meant that he would never attend a mainstream school nor have any normal kind of life.
His mother, Louise, was almost suicidal in her efforts to find a way to cope.
But, her decision to bring home a 12 month old rescue cat called Billy for Fraser changed everything.
Billy sensed something in Fraser the very first time they met. At the cat rescue centre there were two cats to choose between. One ignored Fraser, but Billy approached and nuzzled him and Louise sensed an immediate softening of Fraser’s tension. That was the beginning of a very special friendship.
His mum says, “It was one of those things that will stay with me till the day I die. It was unbelievable to see our boy interacting, engaging with something. We could just see the tension falling away from him.”
“Straight away, Billy was able to do something I couldn’t do. I didn’t have the ability to make him calm like that. And I still don’t. As much as we’ve come along, the one who still makes Fraser calm when he’s stressed is Billy.”
The bond between Fraser and Billy is unspoken but complete. When Fraser refused to learn how to climb stairs, struck rigid with fear of the new, it was Billy who patiently showed him the way.
And when Fraser is feeling unsettled and seems about to swing into a rage, Billy appears and a simple head boop will bring his young owner back down to earth.
Again, his mum: ““Everyone always reports how amazing guide dogs, hearing dogs and disability dogs are,” Booth said. “They should meet Billy. He is the perfect companion to my special boy. More people should consider cats as therapy for people with special needs. Billy is a very special cat and our life wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Fraser now attends a normal school, confounding his diagnosis. There are still many things that trigger his autistic reactions and life is still not normal, but Louise knows that having wonder cat Billy in his life has made an immeasurable difference to Fraser’s life.
Louise has now written a book, ‘When Fraser met Billy’, which is released in the UK tomorrow.
Photo credit: Bruce Adams/Daily Mail