Fergusson, a Maine Coon cat – the largest domestic breed – spends one day a week being wheeled around the hospital in a pram pushed by owner Gill Ballard.
Ms Ballard told Voxy the cat helps cheer up patients and is known to “climb onto the bed and just lie by the patient’s side, waiting to be stroked.
“If the patients are attached to any tubes or machines, she sits Fergusson on her knee and he automatically puts his feet on the side of the bed and his head down as if to say come on, stroke me.”
Fergusson was a former show cat, but retired before taking up a career in assisted animal therapy.
Ms Ballard said a friend suggested the idea to her due to Fergusson’s kind, placid nature.
“Fergusson had only weeks before spent two days lying on a sheepskin at the Pet Expo being stroked by hundreds of people,” said Ms Ballard.
“I thought he could be an ideal candidate as he fulfilled all the requirements – placid, used to a harness, vaccinated and he always has his claws trimmed and is flea free – I brought him for a trial run and he was a huge success.”
Ms Ballard said he had become a big hit at the hospital.
“Every time we visit, lots of people get out their smartphones in the corridors and photograph him – he must be the most photographed cat in Hamilton,” she added.
Watching him cheer up patients was the most rewarding aspect of the job.
“I am always told by the staff of the difference he makes in cheering up patients who may be a bit down. The patients always say how much they appreciate it.”