Duke Ellington Morris truly turned his entire life around. The cat went from literally living on the streets to becoming a permanent employee at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) medical department.
When the Morris family first adopted him from a shelter back in 2010, they quickly discovered that Duke is an extremely peaceful and affectionate cat, and Isa, the youngest member of the family, quickly became quite attached to her new kitty 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 brand new home, Jennifer warned her daughter that the cat may be in need of 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”.
However, their worries were totally and completely unfounded and Duke seemed to feel at home right away. He was thrilled to see guests and family friends or even welcome people at the door.
After seeing just how friendly and affection the the cat was, Jennifer then decided to enroll him in the SPCA, which is the equivalent of the RSPCA in the UK, and is an Animal Assisted Therapy Program in San Francisco so that people in need could benefit from some feline companionship.
Unsurprisingly, Duke passed every one of the entrance tests with flying colors, and in 2015 joined the animal team at the hospital, made up of 16 dogs. This brand 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, who is the 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 very own unique way of getting around at the hospital, a ‘rolling throne’, which lets him rest in between patient visits.
At the very end of his long days full of strokes and purring, this incredible tuxedo cat returns to his loving home with the young girl who gave him the chance to share his wonderful character with so many people.
Learn more about Duke’s Story in the video which is just below: