We all need a steady supply of heartwarming stories to balance all the negativity in the world and lift our spirits. And while that doesn’t necessarily mean that these kinds of stories always involve animals, they surely do. Animals make this world a better place and sometimes all we need is a support cat.
Cats are not widely regarded as very affectionate or caring and there are no therapy cats to prove my point, but as I write this emotional story with my cat sleeping on the table with the paws wrapped around my hand, I realize that cats are very intuitive and are always there when you need them.
After her best friend, who also happens to be her father, was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, Kelly Nugent decided she needed to be there for him and help him get treatment, so she packed up her stuff and her two Scottish Fold cats and moved from Miami to New York.
She thought she was going to take care of her father, but one of her cats with the adorable name of Sweet Potato, or just Tato, took over and hasn’t left her grandfather’s side since.
Warning: You might need something to wipe away your tears.
A few months ago, Kelly Nugent’s father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and she decided to be close to him and help him.
So she packed up her stuff and two cats and moved to New York City.
After acclimatizing one of the cats named Sweet Potato, he revealed the real reason why he was there and that it was to support his sick grandfather.
It seemed like Sweet Potato knew something was wrong and became an instant therapy chat.
In an interview with The Dodo, Kelly Nugent said that after more than two months since arriving at Dad’s house, Sweet Potato and her father are «hip tied»:
«It’s just the sweetest thing you can see because I know [Sweet Potato] can feel like something is wrong and it’s needed,» Nugent added. «So he stepped up to the plate and thought, ‘This is my job now. I will help you heal yourself. It’s as if he knows.
Nugent’s father considered himself a dog until Sweet Potato changed his mind.
Since Sweet Potato arrived home, they have become inseparable and do everything together.
«So my dad has a recliner that he sits in and he’s going to put his arm on the recliner, and every time, without fail, Sweet Potato jumps and sits in the little creek in his arm and cuddles him. He will sleep in his bed or in his room.
Every time my dad is on the computer, [Sweet Potato will] jump on his keyboard. Every time my dad sits at the table to do some of his paperwork, Sweet Potato sits on the paperwork. He just has to be on top of him,» Nugent told The Dodo.
People say they look alike even with a small white mustache
They’ve become the best buddies – they cuddle together, go out and even play golf.
Sweet Potato’s unconditional support helps Nugent’s father follow his treatment
Nugent said she truly believed the sweet potato helped her father heal: «I really think the emotional support of the sweet potato and hugs and just being there had a huge impact on him.»
Nugent said that since Sweet Potato started «breastfeeding» his father, his health has improved significantly, he is close to remission and he is ready for a bone marrow transplant in June.
Pet therapy is the best therapy.
Our little companions cheer us up just with their presence and positive energy, but cats seem to have special powers when it comes to curing or even preventing certain diseases, from minor problems like headaches to mortals.
For example, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology, cats may be associated with a decreased risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease, including stroke.
Another study by Dinis, F.A.B.S.G. and Martins, T.L.F. showed that petting a cat can reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Interestingly, the health benefits are all the greater the stronger the level of attachment between the pet and the owner.
A study by Karin B. Stammbach and Dennis C. Turner (1999) found that cats are an additional source of emotional support for their owner.
Dr Glyn Collis of the University of Warwick found that stress symptoms were lowest among cat owners, second lowest among dog owners and highest among non-pet owners.
So, owning a cat is beneficial for both physiological and psychological well-being and this is a scientifically proven fact.
Some researchers believe that the positive impact on human health could also be related to the purring of the cat and could be its healing mechanism.
And while a cat’s purr has soothing qualities for us humans, it’s much more complex. We may think that we know what our cat’s purring means (usually we assume he is happy), but this is not always the case and it can actually mean that he is self-repairing.
According to a hypothesis by Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute, purring vibrations in cats help them heal because they have been shown to fall between 25 and 140 Hz, which is the same frequency that has been shown to help heal broken bones, repair joints and tendons, and heal wounds.
So it’s possible that this cat vibration therapy can also help humans heal faster. Researchers haven’t put this theory to the test yet, but Sweet Potato isn’t waiting for proof that it can and does help.