All About A Therapy Cat

Tux the therapy cat.

Meet Tux, a black and white therapy cat with character and curiosity to spare.

Oh Tux…what are you getting into now?” A magnet for mischief, my black and white kitty is always one paw ahead of me. Noise from the kitchen meant he’d found a new challenge. A piece of pizza in a cool oven had claimed his attention. Tux was trying to open the door to get to his latest favorite, stewed tomatoes and spinach. Rescuing the pizza was easy compared to cleaning up many of the messes Tux has made. Since he joined our family, I never know where his curiosity will lead him next.

One day, pulling into the driveway after shopping, I glanced at the porch and realized two screens were out of their windows and leaning against my glider. None of my other cats has ever tried to escape through the window, so Tux had to be the culprit. Movement at the third window caught my attention. There stood Tux, pushing with his head and shoulder, bending the frame and popping the screen out. Needless to say the windows are now kept locked.

Another time, a crash in the middle of the night sent me running to the kitchen. Kitty treats are kept in a plastic container on the top shelf of my pantry. Tux had opened the door, scaled the shelves, thrown the container on the floor and was trying to pry it open with his paws. Caught in the act, he sat patiently waiting for me to open the container. It’s hard to get upset with such a comical cat.

Born in North Canton, Ohio, Tux had a rough start to life. Abandoned on the street when his family moved, he had nowhere to go. Neighborhood kids fed him leftovers. I suppose that explains his love of pizza. They played with him, carried him over their shoulders and gave him lots of attention, but were not allowed to take him home. Winter was brutal that year, but somehow the kitten survived. But March arrived with continued frigid temperatures, and Tux just couldn’t take any more. He was found by Nancy, an animal rescuer, lying traumatized and unable to move on a sewer grate.

After being vetted, there was good news: Tux was going to make a complete recovery. Surrounded by love and attention, his personality blossomed. Nancy believed he had the qualities needed to become a therapy cat. A trial visit proved he enjoyed meeting people. Knowing that my therapy cat, Cosmo, had recently retired and I was searching for another kitty to take over his work, Nancy called me and my husband and I made the trip to meet this special kitty. He was stretched out on a bookshelf, watching Nancy’s other animals at play. Picking him up, I could hear him purr. My decision was made; Tux was coming home with me.

He’s come a long way from living on the street. Tux tested for Delta Society, now known as Pet Partners, in the fall of 2011 and passed with flying colors. He’s now able to channel his curiosity and energy into his work. Patients, visitors and staff at the Behavioral Health Unit at Firelands Regional Medical Center look forward to his visits. He’s introducing medical students to a complementary therapy for improving patients’ lives. As he follows in Cosmo’s paw prints, who know how many lives Tux will touch as a therapy cat?

My bedside clock says it’s 2AM. Where is that banging coming from? It sounds like the guest bathroom. Climbing out of bed, I walk down the hall to check. The door’s only opening an inch or so…what’s stopping it? Through the gap, I see the drawers to the vanity are both open and blocking the door. How did that happen? I catch a glimpse of Tux sitting in the top drawer with a perplexed look on his face. Although he’s trapped, he’s not panicked.

Getting him out of the bathroom is going to be a challenge. As I’m trying to decide what to do, Tux jumps into the washbowl, then back into the drawer. The top drawer slamming against the bottom one is causing the crashing sound that woke me. I’ve got to get him out of there, but how? Gripping the metal slides on the sides of the drawers with a pair of pliers and pulling them closed an inch at a time might work. If the pliers fail, I’ll need another plan. Calling 911 seems my only other option. Something tells me the fire department is not going to find any humor in removing a bathroom door at 2AM to rescue a cat. I hope my pliers work.

“Oh Tux…what will you get into next?”

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