Sixth Sense Kitty: Tom the Cat Comforts Patients Near the End of Their Lives
Tom the cat has a very special gift.
A very gentle feline has nine lives — and a "sixth sense."
Tom the cat began volunteering at the Salem VA Medical Center in Virginia at just 2-years-old, bringing joy and comfort to the resident veterans in the community living center.
A physician's assistant, Laura Hart, was prompted to adopt a feline for the facility after learning about a book about a service cat called Making Rounds with Oscar.
That's how she met Tom, who Hart knew would be the best cat for the hospital.
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Now the small tabby has a deep connection with each patient — deeper than any staffers can understand.
According to the hospital’s community relations director, Ann Benois, Tom has a keen sense of the afterlife.
“When you see Tom around he doesn’t have a sense of ‘doom,’ but a sense when someone is at the end of life,” Benois told InsideEdition.com. "It’s just one of those things you can’t explain."
The kitty’s clairvoyance was put to the test when a young woman visited her father who was close to death.
The woman wasn’t too fond of Tom but when she left for a few moments, the cat entered her father’s room and stayed with him during his last hours of life.
“Tom kept coming to her and meowing,” said Benois. “He was trying to alert her that her father had just passed away.”
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Since that moment, Tom has become a notable figure in the hospital. The cat even has a book written about his kindness toward others, entitled Tom the Angel Cat.
Since not everyone is a cat-lover, some patients are positioned in the No Cat Zone.
“Tom is very obedient and knows the areas where he shouldn’t go,” Benois said. “He shies away from people who are afraid of cats or allergic. But, for the most part, when they see him, they suddenly fall in love with him.”
Tom also has a sense of when a patient is in need of company, and will stay in the room with them until they are completely relaxed.
When he isn’t making his rounds in the living center, the little feline has a room dedicated to him where he eats and sleeps and plays with an abundance of cat toys.
“He’s gotten a little heavy since the patients kept feeding him,” Benois said. “Tom’s such an amazing little cat. Everyone just loves him.”
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