Compassion and peacefulness are two qualities that make for good nursing, and a gentle ginger cat named Honey has them in spades. The clinic where she lives is a haven for her and she spreads her comfort around to any animal that needs it. But a complaint about her and another cat living at the clinic prompted officials to inspect the premises and request that the cats be re-homed. So a community of 6,000 cat lovers came together on their behalf.
Honey knows firsthand how Ringsjöns Veterinärklinik veterinary clinic makes a difference in the lives of the animals who come there. Four years ago she was a stray in bad shape who needed help, and the kind folks at the clinic took her in and saved her life. Now she wants to stay in the place that has become her home.
Honey was brought in to the Swedish clinic in extremely poor condition; so poor, in fact, that the vet didn't know if she'd make it through the night. Fortunately, she lived and since then she's given back to her rescuers much more than she owed.
"At first she just stayed as a regular patient to get well, but soon we noticed how she cared for other patients," Lucie Havelka, a veterinarian at the clinic, related. Honey decided to become a nurse for a litter of kittens without a mom.
Her personality and natural instincts make her the perfect nurse. She just seems to know how to comfort other animals. "She had a calming effect on other patients and she seems to thrive here with all the attention. The clinic just naturally became her home," Lucie said.
The instinct to nurture has been an immense help to the clinic staff, as they rarely have time to cuddle and comfort all their patients. Honey seems to know which animals are in need of TLC and she immediately responds.
"She is only there when she is needed. Otherwise she minds her own business, playing, grooming, eating or resting. When a patient is nervous or the owner needs comfort, she's there to offer a cuddle or just sit from a distance and purr," according to Lucie.
Nurse Honey will take up her post near needy animals, regardless of species, anytime she senses her special brand of medicine is needed.
Lucie relates, "It creates a very cosy and homelike atmosphere at the clinic. Everyone appreciates it. If a patient, for some reason, does not wish to have contact with Honey, we simply just move her to another room."
So when the inspectors told them a complaint had been lodged against them for allowing Honey and her 19-year-old companion, Oscar, to live at the clinic, it was pretty much a surprise.
Honey's "job" is to offer comfort and companionship to other animals and their humans as well. And she's been admirably fulfilling her role since 2014.
Although the clinic staff appealed to the court system, they were told that having a cat wandering freely through the facility could "increase the risk for contagion between the clinic's patients."
"We never had any problems with secondary infections at the clinic during the four years Honey has been here," Lucie said. "I have support in science that Honey is by no means a health risk to my patients."
Having a cat that helps the clinic's patients heal quicker is not Sweden's idea. Around the world, it is a common phenomenon. Pumpkin from Tennessee is one example in the United States. Rademenesa, in Poland, is another. Then there are Stitch in Australia and Lyutsik in Russia. So the staff decided to start a petition to get the court to change its mind. So far, over 6,000 names have been added to the list. "We are so happy that there are so many people who are supportive of Honey so that she can live the life she likes the best," Lucie said.
"For almost four years, Honey has taken care of homeless kittens and sick cats, comforted both nervous patients and their owners at the veterinary clinic with great love and empathy," she insisted. Isn't that one of the primary duties of any nurse worth her salt? "This is her home, and her meaning of life," Lucie explained. And that, my friends, is straight from the horse's mouth.
Share Honey's dilemma with your friends, and follow the latest about this special cat on Facebook. Are you ready to sign the petition? I just did!