Duke Ellington Morris truly turned his life around. The cat went from living on the streets to becoming a permanent employee at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) medical department.
When the Morris family adopted him from a shelter in 2010, they quickly discovered that Duke is an extremely calm and affectionate cat, and Isa, the youngest member of the family, quickly became attached to her new feline companion. Her mother, Jennifer told the Dodo:
We went into the cage area [at the shelter] and Duke was very smitten by my daughter. So I figured the cat couldn't be all that bad.
Once Duke arrived at his new home, Jennifer warned her daughter that the cat may need some time to adjust to his new surroundings:
You're not going to see Duke for a couple of days. He's going to find the nearest bed or piece of furniture and hide there.
Source: Jennifer Morris
However, their worries were completely unfounded and Duke seemed to feel at home right away. He was happy to see guests and family friends or even welcome people at the door.
After seeing how friendly and affection the feline was, Jennifer decided to enroll him in the SPCA ( the equivalent of the RSPCA in the UK) Animal Assisted Therapy Program in San Francisco so that those in need could benefit from some feline companionship.
Source : UCSF
Unsurprisingly, Duke passed all the entrance tests with flying colors, and in 2015 joined the animal team at the hospital, made up of 16 dogs. The new recruit quickly won over the patients. Jennifer continues:
Some of our patients very much want to see a cat. Some of them like cats in general. And other patients have cats at home and they miss their cats. So it's nice to see Duke as a surrogate.
Elizabeth Fernandez, director of communications at UCSF, has also been charmed by the affectionate cat:
He's an absolutely lovely, lovely cat. He's so patient. I've watched him in action a number of times and he's given such consolation to our patients, and to our staff.
Duke even has his own way of getting around at the hospital, a 'rolling throne', which lets him rest in between patient visits.
At the end of his long days full of strokes and purring, the incredible cat returns to his loving home with the young girl who gave him the chance to share his wonderful character with so many people, Isa.
Learn more about Duke's Story in the video below:
Tens of thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters each year, either due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. Consider adopting before you shop, and visit your local shelters before going to a breeder. Every dog and cat deserves a fair chance at a forever home.
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