John Nugent has never considered himself to be a cat person, but he’s singing a different tune now that he’s gotten to know his daughter Kelly’s Scottish fold named Sweet Potato.
Three months ago, Kelly moved from Miami, Florida, to her dad’s place in New York to help him as he underwent treatment for bone marrow cancer. Rather than leave her kitty behind with a friend, Kelly brought “Tato” and her other cat, Jelly Donut, with her.
John is Kelly’s best friend, and he was having a rough time at the start of his treatment. Kelly figured she would help him mentally and physically by being so close. What she didn’t realize was that Sweet Potato would also step up to help her dad cope.
“As soon as we got there and Sweet Potato acclimated, he became a madman for my dad,” Kelly said. “He would not leave his side, and still, to this day, they’re just attached at the hip.”
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Animals often seem to have a sixth sense when someone is sick, and Sweet Potato clearly zoomed right in on his grandpa’s weakened state. He started following John everywhere he went, cuddling with him constantly and insisting on being in the same room at all times.
“It’s just the sweetest thing you could ever see because I know [Sweet Potato] can sense something’s wrong and that he’s needed,” Kelly said. “So he kind of just stepped up to the plate and was like, ‘This is my job now. I’m gonna help heal you.’ It’s like he knew.”
Sweet Potato can usually be found nestled in the crook of his granddad’s arm while John sits in his recliner. The cat also joins him for meals at the kitchen table and sleeps with him in his bed each night. While he’s not technically a therapy animal, Tato seems to have appointed himself as one without consulting anyone!
Kelly thought their new bromance was so adorable that she started sharing videos of John and Tato on TikTok. The clips went viral, and now she loves showing her dad comments from strangers around the world.
“When I read him all the comments, it was so cool to him that so many random people were rooting for him,” she said.
John’s health has been steadily improving ever since Sweet Potato arrived. He’s no longer in as much pain, and he’s even strong enough to have a bone marrow transplant in June!
While he’s not out of the woods yet, he’s feeling stronger and is closer to remission than ever. Both he and his daughter agree that the love of one special feline has made even the toughest days of treatment a little easier.
“I really think the emotional support of Sweet Potato and the cuddles and just being there — it’s had a huge impact on him,” Kelly said.
What a magical friendship! Kelly’s dad has started practicing his golf putting again, and of course, Sweet Potato loves to help! The question is, will Kelly be able to get her cat back when it’s time to go home to Miami?
Don’t forget to share this beautiful friendship to brighten someone’s day.
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