He’s wheeled from room to room on a cart, where he lies bedside between IV tubes and heart monitors. Duke is beloved by patients in the intensive care unit where he works his magic.
“Oh, this cat’s phenomenal!” exclaimed patient Marcy Harrison, who appears in a video report by KPIX Five out of San Francisco. Duke works at the UCSF Medical Center, where he makes the rounds visiting patients badly in need of a little comfort.
The 7-year-old Tuxedo cat’s full name is Duke Ellington Morris. And he is one cool, laid-back kitty. “I was skeptical of the idea until I met Duke and was, like, this works for us,” Steven Koster, told KPIX. Koster’s job is to facilitate the animal-assisted therapy program at UCSF with the San Francisco SPCA.
“It’s pretty exciting to meet him and see a cat in the hospital.” said nurse David Goldberger. “When he first mentioned it, I was, like, ‘Is it a dog?’ Nope – a kitty!” said patient Susan Wuann.
“When you have this animal that comes in here like Duke … you can pet him, you can stroke him. He gives you a sense of being connected as a human again. So it’s really a wonderful thing,” explained patient Andre Ross.
Duke is a rescue cat, said his owner, Jennifer Morris. “I think he rescued us. There’s no doubt in my mind,” she told KPIX. “He’s just a sweetheart.”
The staff involved with the animal assisted therapy program told KPIX that they make sure the animals are safe to be in the ICU. To find out more about the benefits of pet therapy, check out this Mayo Clinic article.