In a bizarre turn of events, a cat was named as an officer at the US San Francisco International Airport to calm nervous flyers, according to reports independent (articles outside of the paywall).
The airport announced on Twitter that the 14-year-old black-and-white cat, Duke Ellington Morris, was a member of the “Swing Brigade,” complete with a photo of him wearing a small aviator cap and shirt collar. “Purrlase welcomes our newest Wag Brigade member, Duke Ellington Morris!” the headline read.
The Wag Brigade, originally launched by California airports in 2013, was designed to “bring trained animals to airports to help calm anxious travelers,” the report added.
Earlier, the program was limited to dogs, but over time it has expanded to include other trained animals, including cats, rabbits and even “the world’s first therapy pig,” LilLou, the report added .
The San Francisco SPCA certifies animals that have successfully completed its Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) course, then selects them based on their temperament and behavior
The cat was reportedly rescued from a feral population in 2010. He was adopted by a five-year-old girl and her mother and is certified as a therapy animal.
However, this isn’t the first time animals have been used at airports to improve the mood of passengers. In 2017, the Cincinnati/Northern Ohio Airport introduced therapeutic miniature horses designed to calm stressed travelers passing through the airport, the report added.