Beloved grand-cat Donny was born without eyes along with a neurological condition called Cerebellar Hyperplasia, causing him severe balance issues during movement.
Donny, the therapy cat
Despite Donny's conditions, he always remained sweet, affectionate and energetic. His owners were so fond of his kind and gentle nature that he eventually became a certified therapy cat as part of the North Shore Animal League America (NSALA) outreach program.
About a year after Donny became a new member of his adoptive family, owner Susan's 88-year-old mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. And thanks to Donny's talents, he contributed to her recovery as much as the doctors did!
Whilst his poorly human was receiving radiation treatment against lung cancer, Donny always came with her daughter Susan to keep her company at the hospital. He would always lay in bed with her as she petted him day in and day out. The pair had a truly wonderful bond.
The 'cuddle' hormone
After a total of 17 radiation treatments against an aggressive tumour, Donny's grandma was finally cancer-free and was able to return back to her family! Susan and the rest of the family believe that Donny played a very important part of her mother's recovery at the hospital, having provided both emotional and physical comfort of the nurturing, gentle soul that he was during an incredibly difficult experience.
Several studies have shown how the company of a cat has significantly helped to relieve stress and lower blood pressure, thanks to the release of oxytocin—the 'cuddle' hormone, triggering feelings of happiness and comfort. It's no wonder that therapy cats such as Donny have helped so many of those struggling with the mental and emotional effects of various illnesses! Keep spreading those smiles, Donny!