Airports across the country have started to employ therapy animals to help stressed travelers deal with delays, jet lag and layovers.
Dogs and pigs have been highlighted taking on the cuddly job, but Xeli is the first airport therapy cat we’ve heard of.
The chill tabby is part of Denver International Airport’s Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS), which, despite the name, didn’t put its first cat on staff until last year. CATS is the largest airport therapy animal program in the country, according to the Petco Foundation; Xeli is joined by more than 100 certified therapy dogs, who help spread cheer and smiles across terminals.
Xeli became part of the team in October 2017 after being certified by Pet Partners.
The patient 12-lb. feline works two-hour shifts at the airport. With help from her human companions, Xeli offers pats, purrs and hugs to any traveler who needs a break from the tension of air travel.
Xeli’s work as a mood elevator has earned her recognition from the Petco Foundation, which dubbed the kitty a Helping Hero.
With a goal to raise more than $2.3 million in Petco locations and online, the Helping Heroes campaign supports the incredible organizations that train and support these animals to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each and every day.
Next time you are traveling through Denver International Airport you can find this furry sanity-savior by checking the airport’s Twitter feed. Xeli’s shifts and location are posted on the account.
She’ll be the cat in the blue “Pet Me” vest.