A man traveler hugging a therapy cat at an airport.
(Photo credit: ajr_images / Getty Images)

SFO Airport Hires Duke Ellington…a Therapy Cat

Traveling is one of the most stressful endeavors a human must endure. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could cuddle with a furry friend before your long flight? Well, now you can, if you’re traveling through the San Francisco International Airport. But if you’re envisioning a therapy dog, think again! That’s because the airport has a new hire: a 14-year-old therapy cat named Duke Ellington Morris.

Therapy cat greets travelers at San Francisco Airport

According to USA Today, the black-and-white rescue cat recently joined the airport’s Wag Brigade. The Wag Brigade is a “team of certified stress-relief animals,” according to the news outlet. The organization, which launched in 2013, aims to bring “trained animals to the terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable.”

Duke Ellington Morris’ backstory is surprising. Before his new gig, he was living on the streets. San Francisco Animal Care and Control received the cat in 2010 after he was found living in a feral cat colony. At the time, he was starving. A family adopted him and he bonded with his 5-year-old human sister. Then, through the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Duke received training and certification as a therapy animal.

“Since then, Duke has been certified as an animal therapist, helping humans of all ages deal with stress, illness, hardship, and putting smiles on their faces when they need it most,” the airport shared in an Instagram post.

Now, Duke will be greeting exhausted and stressed-out passengers as they journey through the San Francisco International Airport. He’s sure to inspire smiles along the way.

Could your cat be a therapy animal?

Is your beloved feline friend a potential candidate for animal therapy work? While not every cat possesses the ideal temperament for this important role, there are certain signs that can indicate their suitability. Look for traits such as calmness, adaptability, and a friendly disposition towards strangers. Cats who readily seek out human interaction, enjoy being petted, and display a gentle nature are more likely to excel in therapy animal settings. Additionally, a cat’s ability to remain calm and unfazed in various environments, as well as their capacity to handle unexpected noises or movements with grace, can be indicative of their potential as a therapy cat. If your cat exhibits these qualities, it may be worthwhile to explore the possibility of sharing their unique gifts with those in need. Perhaps your cat can provide comfort and support in their own special way.


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