In a medical facility in Virginia, there are many veterans who arrive completely ill or severely injured. This is a very hard moment for them and their families. However, a cat brings comfort to veterans at this facility, veterans who are in beds and wheelchairs waiting for their recovery or death. His name is Tom.

This cat was a stray and later became the medical center’s pet

He tries to make the veterans feel at home with his presence. He is a very social cat who walks the entire building looking for someone to play with or spend some time with.

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When he finds someone, he can sense if that person needs some “extra comfort." Sometimes, it’s not only the veterans who need to be cheered up, but the family members, too. Tom’s presence is very important for them, making the hours go by faster in the waiting room. He can spend hours with a patient or just make a lot of visits to everyone across the hall, he has become a very important member of the medical care staff,” said Shelby Benois, who works in the same place.

Very important in final hours for many

In an article for the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, Pamela Thomson remembers the cat supporting her father in his last minutes of life. He put his paw in my father´s hand and God was in there telling me everything was going to be fine,” she said.

Tom is also called Tobby sometimes. He makes life easier for the veterans who are waiting for recovery or, tragically, waiting for their own death. He is orange with stripes and sometimes he is curled up in the patients’ beds. Laura Hart, another Hospital worker, said that Tom has a sixth sense because he is always in the right place at the right time. She thinks that a human soul is probably inside of him.  Sometimes he jumps or does something funny in order to make people laugh and break the tension.

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He spends a lot of time there while a dying veteran is on his way to the other side, and then he just disappears for a while, looking for the next person in need of his help.

Sometimes, there are veterans who don’t like cats, so they put a sign that says “No cat zone," telling Tom not to visit. He is interested in changing people’s mind, according to some workers, but he respects the ones who don’t want his help. He has a calming effect according to the palliative care coordinator, Dorothy Rizzo.