Jet has been a special cat his whole life. It started the day I met him. I was looking into adopting another cat from a local cat rescue organization and was at the foster parent’s home to have a look at him. I was sitting on a sofa and all of a sudden I was tapped on my shoulder. I turned my head and saw a young black cat sitting there, looking at me. He was so friendly and outgoing that I knew right away he would make a good Pet Therapy cat, something that I had started to do a few years earlier with two of my other cats. I asked if he was up for adoption; he was, so I adopted two cats that day. I had no idea what to name this kitten, but when I saw him flying through the house it became quite clear- he was black and he was fast. So his name became Jet.
Since Jet was only six months old we had to wait another six months before I could have him tested as a pet therapy cat with PALS (Pet Access League Society). He passed the test with flying colors, and soon started coming with me to the Children’s Hospital. He became an instant hit as cats are not usually seen doing pet therapy work. But Jet took it all in stride, and actually loved going to see the kids. He would go and sit on their laps, nuzzle them and sit very still while they stroked his soft fur. There were many special moments, but one touching story involves Jet and a young boy who had just come out of a coma. The boy had not spoken at all, but when he saw Jet at a PALS visit, he spoke his first word, “kitty”. His parents were in tears, as was I when they told me that this was the first word their son had spoken since he had come out of his coma.
After ten years Jet received his special PALS scarf for his ten years of service. He was one of the first pets to receive it, and when he retired was the longest serving pet volunteer with PALS. Forward to thirteen years of pet therapy work, and I received an email from Jake from the MEOW Foundation, that she wanted to nominate Jet for an award for all his years of pet therapy service. So Jet was nominated for, and won, the 2009 Volunteer Calgary Animal Volunteer of the Year award for his thirteen years as a pet therapy cat. He was the only animal present at a huge banquet dinner where all the other (human) award recipients received their awards. Of course he wore his red bow tie to this fancy banquet!
Sadly, Jet fell ill soon after the awards and was retired as a pet therapy cat. Jet turned seventeen in May. His spirit was still willing and he was just as friendly as he has always been, but in the end his body just gave out. Jet will be remembered by many people for his pet therapy contributions. There will never be another cat like Jet, he was one in a million.