Cat Comforts Patients at Children’s Hospital


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By Karen Harrison Binette

Landon Ames, who is 3 years old, snuggles up with Huck Finn, a 16-pound cat that does the rounds in the pediatric hematology/oncology unit at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Huck Finn loves to make himself at home. His owner, Carol Markt, said he has a way of making himself “heavy when he’s happy,” so he’s harder to pick up and move.
Photo, Cathy Cheney | Portland Business Journal


Portland Business Journal writer Elizabeth Hayes and photographer Cathy Cheney visited local Portland, OR hospitals for a story on the benefit to patients from visits by therapy pets. Ms Hayes wrote: “Cathy Cheney and I got to see many faces light up as dogs and even a cat were brought into patients’ rooms and walked past nurses’ stations. Each of these animals seemed to understand their purpose and brought with them an aura of calm and, of course, unconditional love.”

The photos shown here feature a cat named Huck Finn, who brings comfort and smiles to young patients at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Other photos show dogs visiting Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Randall Children’s Hospital, Legacy Good Samaritan and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center .

Read the full story and view the photos: Meet the dogs and cats that help heal sick Portland kids.

For more on the topic, see Elizabeth Hayes’ feature article, Can Fido have therapeutic benefits? Randall Children’s study will find out.

It’s hard to say who is enjoying this pet therapy more, Landon Ames, a patient at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, or Huck Finn, a very mellow cat.
Photo, Cathy Cheney | Portland Business Journal



Carol Markt wheels her 10-year-old cat Huck Finn around a floor of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital on a recent morning. The floor supervisors get a list of patients who would like and have been approved for a pet visit by their doctors. Susan Sherwood checks first to make sure it’s a convenient time for Huck Finn to drop by.
Photo, Cathy Cheney | Portland Business Journal



Ruby Reese, who is 6, says she has two cats at home. She’s happy to have a visit with Huck Finn, who popped into her room at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. “He is so soft,” she says, smiling.
Photo, Cathy Cheney | Portland Business Journal





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4 thoughts on “Cat Comforts Patients at Children’s Hospital”

  1. This is such a fantastic idea. I hope many hospitals do this in the future. Our furkids can bring so much joy and do a better job at bringing the spirits of a person or child up than any doctor and their meds. I work at a hospital here and they are finally doing this! Thank you for sharing this.

  2. I have a 20 lb Maine Coon and he does the “heavy when happy” too! You know when he doesn’t want to be moved, for sure.
    Great for Huck and the kids!

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