Russell isn't an ordinary cat - he spends his time cuddling animals of all species who are in need of companionship and security.
Not too long ago internet sensation ‘Nurse Kitty’ went viral as humans re-learned that animals are innate healers, too. And now another beloved feline is touching lives at a clinic after his own was almost lost one year ago.
Russel is not like most cats – and we don’t just mean his appearance. About a year ago, the hardy orange cat was rescued from the smoldering rubble of a fire that destroyed his home and left him with severe burns on his face and body. He was then admitted as a patient to the Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care Clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Caretakers there didn’t know if the badly burned kitty would survive, but they showered him with love and hoped for the best.
“He was pretty far gone, and we didn’t know if he would make it,” clinic staffer Alan Wilford told The Dodo. “He has taken a long time, but he has made a miraculous recovery.”
While the cat has yet to completely heal from his injuries (which require constant attention), he is making the most of his long-term stay by helping out at the clinic.
Despite the discomfort that most surely nags him, he happily comforts other animals at the clinic who are in need of care and companionship.
Said Wilford, “He’s incredibly engaging. He wants to meet all our patients. He just wants to be with them.”
“I don’t know if he can sense that other animals are in pain or have stuff going on, but he does seem to have some weird knack for connecting with patients, even when you wouldn’t think they would.”
That means that while most cats would shy away from dogs, Russell doesn’t seem to have a prejudicial nature. He is seen cuddling patients all species.
According to the staff at the clinic, Russell is so outgoing with other patients he’d spend all day wandering in and out of exam rooms if they didn’t insist he get some much-needed rest now and again.
While Russell no doubt enjoys the companionship as well, it’s clear to the staff that he’s doing his rounds for much more than his own benefit.
“I think he helps other animals feel at ease. We’re a clinic, so I’m sure he helps alleviate their stress,” said Wilford. “Most cats are independent and aloof, but he likes to be with other animals. And it’s not all about him. He really enjoys giving companionship to others.”
Wilford told The Dodo that there’s a chance Russell will never be well enough to return to his former life, but if that is the case, he’ll never be lacking in love.
“He’s adopted us,” he said. “He’s a rock star here. Everyone wants to see him, and he just eats it up. I don’t know if he’d like being a normal house cat again, so we’d be happy to keep him as our clinic mascot.”
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