Anne Johnson, associate director of the Community Living Center at Fort Miley in San Francisco, wanted a cat to make the nursing home a warmer and more inviting place for patients. “One of the things that makes things homelike is having a pet,” explains Johnson. “We had to look at everything from where would the cat live, to how would we deal with patients and staff who are allergic or afraid of cats, to how does the federal government buy pet food?”
Miley (named after the Fort) arrived in August 2010 and soon took charge of the nursing station outside the elevator. When he is not under a chair or on one, Miley checks on a patient by jumping up on the bed, preferably at the moment dinner is being served on a tray.
“He certainly will eat hospital food,” says Johnson, who discourages patients from feeding scraps to Miley, in an effort to keep his weight below 20 pounds.
“He’s cute as the devil,” says Arnold Levagetto who is 87 and joined the Navy straight out of Galileo High School for what he calls “the Big War.” “Animals are very good for patients,” Levagetto says. “It’s undivided love.”