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what pets work well with TS?

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  • what pets work well with TS?

    Background for my question:

    My 11yo son with TS, ADHD and anxiety has made a lot of progress with his anxiety and sleep problems over the last six months. He had a change of school, change of med plan, and change of therapist in May, and all three changes were helpful. Prior to May, he wasn't able to sleep in his room alone at all. Either someone else would sleep with him in his room, or he would sleep on a small mattress on the floor next to parents' bed, which is on a low futon platform.

    Currently he manages to sleep the whole night through on his own in his room on average about half the time. He is able to start the night out on his own all the time. He falls asleep pretty easily these days, after some bedtime reading with a parent. Usually one of us will sit on a chair in his room while he falls asleep, as a reassuring presence.

    Currently, when my son transfers to our room in the middle of the night, he brings his pillow and comforter with him. Sometimes I don't notice until morning, but sometimes I wake up when he does a lot of adjusting of position and comforter.

    The next character in this story is our cat, Harold. My custom is to have Harold come in right before I go to bed, and have him spend the night in the study with the door closed so he doesn't disturb anyone during the night. Harold is happy with this pattern. But my son, remembering a nice bond they formed during Harold's recent convalescence from an injury, likes to go get Harold from the study when he gets up to use the bathroom during the night, and they make a happy pair for a couple of hours -- until Harold wakes him up to start the in-and-out waltz, usually sometime between 2 and 4 am. When Harold wants to come in, he miaos at my son's window, because it's the closest to the front door.

    All this has resulted in more frequent incidents of disturbed sleep and transfers to our room. (Some of these transfers are Harold-related and some aren't.)

    Last night when I noticed my son getting settled after transferring to our room, I asked him how he was doing. He said he was okay but he felt lonely.

    Now (finally!) for my question: can anyone think of a pet that would be compatible with TS and a housecat? I think that if my son had a pet who lived in his room, that would help with the loneliness at night.

    My son is gentle with animals and finds solace in them. However his dysinhibition, love of music and dance, and vocal tics make me worry that he might unintentionally frighten a sensitive animal.

    I hesitate to adopt a rodent because my son is hypersensitive to smell.

    A nocturnal animal that wants to play in the middle of the night would be counter-productive.

    My husband has a snake phobia.

    Harold would not be happy living with a dog.

    Maybe a fish? I'm not sure if this would provide the feeling of companionship my son craves.

    I'd be interested to hear what pets have worked well for other families.

  • #2
    Re: what pets work well with TS?

    Hey there,

    I have Tourette Syndrome (the extremely vocal swearing form) and personally have gotten along great with sensitive animals despite my loud outbursts.

    I own two cats, which both have grown quite accustomed to my tics.

    It sounds like you have basically ruled out every other animal; cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles, fish....

    I just wanted to advise you not to use your son's vocal tics as a reason not to adopt a sensitive animal, as even sensitive animals can grow accustomed to tics.

    I hope that you make the right choice.

    Wishing you the best of luck,

    Last edited by SwearingTourettesMan; January 16, 2015, 07:24 AM.
    Every feeling can be logically simulated.


    • #3
      Re: what pets work well with TS?

      I think a dog would be the best companion and help him release tension and relax..a give him responsibility. But he isn't interested in a dog?