Cat starts volunteering at local hospital without telling owners

An altruistic cat decided that caring was his calling and began volunteering at a local hospital — without his owner’s knowledge.

The internet has fallen in love with the friendly ginger tom cat named Henry who has been visiting Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, for over five years.

The British hospital is situated close to Henry’s home and he is now considered to be an important member of their caring community.

Unexpected visitor

Hospital workers reported that one chilly winter morning, Henry simply wandered into the main hospital reception and made himself comfy on a waiting room chair. 

The seven-year-old ginger cat then spent the day receiving rubs and cuddles from patients, staff, and those tentatively waiting to hear updates about their loved ones.

A dedicated volunteer

When the feel-good story was reported on by Newsweek they spoke to several Addenbrooke’s staff members and patients who shared how Henry had been lighting up their days since he took it upon himself to volunteer his time.

One hospital employee named Amanda Crissall told the outlet that Henry greets her every morning ready to begin his daily job of lifting spirits and offering much-needed support. She explained that Henry usually gets to work before her and that he will be “”Waiting to be fussed at around 6:15 a.m. near our staff car park.”

A secret calling

Henry’s owners were at first oblivious about where their affectionate cat was disappearing to every day and only learned of his altruistic antics when they saw photos of their pet in his new workplace on social media. 

The gentle cat’s owners have chosen to stay anonymous but shared with Newsweek how they have accepted that Henry found his true calling and no longer try to deter him from his hospital visits, saying:

“I would try to bring him home, but that never lasted more than a couple of days. It’s so nice that he’s making so many people happy – if he helps just one person that’s more than many cats do.”

A viral star is born

The kind-hearted cat quickly became a viral star in the local area and even has a dedicated Facebook group where people regularly post photos of him and share their heartwarming encounters with the placid interloper.

The group also serves as a guide on how to interact with Henry and informs people that he has a happy home which he returns to every night and is not waiting for a kind soul to adopt him.

A very important question. Pic credit: Henry the Addenbrookes cat/Facebook

If you wish to join the Facebook group then you must first promise that you will not feed Henry, even if he gives you “that” look, ensuring that the kind kitty doesn’t return home with a tummy full of dangerous vending machine treats.

Henry also regularly appears on Twitter feeds, as visitors to the hospital share their sightings of the sweet ginger tom.

Henry spotted in action. Pic credit: @hxnnah_marie/Twitter

Hospital rules

For Henry to continue volunteering and since he is not a licensed service animal, the hospital has put several rules in place. This way he remains a beloved honorary member of staff and daily support to everyone who enters the hospital in their difficult time of need.

 A spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals told Newsweek:

“Henry the cat is very much a character and does seem to have found a place in the hearts of many of our staff and patients. However, for obvious reasons of infection control, no animals other than pets as therapy dogs and guide dogs are allowed in the hospital so please do not tempt him into the concourse with food or other treats, which are also bad for his health.”

The Cambridge hospital promotes its most important employee. Pic credit: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/Facebook

His calling continues 

Unaware of his online fame, Henry has remained humble and continues to spend his days in the hospital’s waiting room ready to offer comfort and cuddles to all who need them. 

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