It’s a proven medical fact that cats can help improve a person’s health. That’s why the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia has a cat to help ailing veterans feel better. Tom the cat is the unofficial appointed feline friend, counselor and caretaker at the facility.

“You can’t beat a good, purring, loving kitty cat,” Army veteran James Gearhart of Bassett, Virginia, said. He lived in the rehabilitation unit while being treated for throat cancer, and says he’s doing well after being recently discharged.

“Tom knows when someone is having a hard time. He laid on my bed a lot and I rubbed and scratched him the way cats like,” Gearhart said. “One day I gave him some of my Ensure vanilla drink and he drank every bit of it. Then he rubbed on me and licked my hands.”

Perhaps if more stories like this get on the Internet, every cat owner could write off cat food and kitty litter as a medical expense. After all, cats make people healthy so therefore they should quality as a medical deduction.

To read more about how Tom the cat comforts ailing veterans, click here.