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Aug 19
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Therapy Cats Brighten The Day
At The Kennedy Dancers



Sylvester & Sylvio

Therapy Brothers...

Clara Rodriguez is exercising, and she has a smile on her face. 

Which may sound like a contradiction of terms, but it’s not.  Why? 

Because Silvio and Sylvester are giving her special attention while she works out.

No, Silvio and Sylvester aren’t a pair of handsome, muscular personal trainers. 

They’re Certified Therapy Cats, and they’re bringing smiles to the faces of senior citizens -

like 68 year-old Rodriguez - who attend free weekly dance and exercise classes at

The Kennedy Dancers’ studio, located at 79 Central Avenue in Jersey City.

Certified by the non-profit organization, Hudson County Urban Search & Rescue, Inc., Silvio and Sylvester are 6-year old brothers who were chosen to be therapy cats because of their calm temperaments and sweet dispositions.  Weighing in at approximately 15 pounds each, these black cats with white faces and piercing light green eyes stroll in and out of the dance studios, stopping occasionally to rub someone’s leg or to receive an affectionate scratch from an appreciative senior.

“It’s no secret that animals bring joy into our lives,” says Diane Dragone, Executive and Artistic Director of The Kennedy Dancers, “because they provide unconditional love, acceptance, and care.”  In fact, a 2008 study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association determined that 63% of American households have pets.

According to Greg Rivera, coordinator for Hudson County Urban Search & Rescue, Inc., Silvio and Sylvester are the first cats in Hudson County to become certified therapy pets.  Nationally, however, pets have been used in therapy programs at hospitals, long term care and assisted living facilities since the early ’70’s.  “So therapy cats are a natural fit for an organization like The Kennedy Dancers, whose programs are geared towards the health and wellness of the senior citizen community,” Rivera says.

But don’t take his word for it - stop by and see for yourself.  The Kennedy Dancers is open Monday through Friday noon-8pm, and Saturdays 10am-3pm, and Silvio and Sylvester are always on duty.

The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.  Founded in 1976 in Jersey City, New Jersey by Artistic Director, Diane Dragone, the mission of The Kennedy Dancers is to bring high quality dance education, training, and performances to Hudson County, New Jersey, and to the entire New York metropolitan region.  Since its inception, The Kennedy Dancers has consistently expanded its programs to respond to the special needs of the community in which it is based, including low-income families, at risk and incarcerated teens, persons with disabilities, and mature Americans/senior citizens.

For more information:  Diane Dragone or Michael Bensusan, (201) 659-2190


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