top of page

Woman and pet cat share amputee journey on therapy team

Juanita Mengel and kitty Lola-Pearl both have prosthetic legs.

Here's an inspiring story from

Every day Juanita Mengel, a 67-year-old woman from the state of Ohio, wakes up and puts on her prosthetic leg. Then, Mengel does the same for Lola-Pearl, her colorful five-year-old cat. Lola-Pearl is missing her back left leg.

Mengel has many cats. Most of them have disabilities. But Lola-Pearl is special. She is a therapy cat, and she and Mengel are partners of a kind. They are among 200 therapy cat teams registered in the United States by the nonprofit group, Pet Partners.

The group helps humans and pets alike by setting them up into teams to provide animal-assisted intervention. The teams visit hospitals, nursing homes and schools and assist those in need.

Mengel was a traveling nurse when she was in a car accident that almost killed her. One of her legs could not be saved.

Later, she connected with a friend in the state of Missouri who had a severely injured kitten. Her legs were twisted together. An animal medical specialist worked to repair the damage but, in the end, they had to remove one of the kitten's legs.

That kitten was Lola-Pearl.

Mengel said Lola-Pearl showed signs that she would make a good therapy cat soon after the animal joined her family. Mengel took her new cat to a meeting for amputees.

"She was so good with people I just knew she would be a good therapy cat. People really were attracted to her, too,” Mengel said.

For more on this story, visit 


bottom of page