(WIAT) — A very special feline in California is getting a new purpose in life, and it’s all to help veterans.
Meet Sophia and Leonidas.
“Go play with a kitten because I guarantee you, you pick up a little kitten and five minutes later your day which was not so hot is just like ‘aww,’” said Karolyn Smith, Sophia the Bionic Cat’s owner.
Karolyn smith adopted Sophia and Leonidas the same day, but Sophia came with a physical challenge.
“And when I got to the humane society they said oh she’s an amputee,” said Smith.
Sophia was only weeks old when she was found with her umbilical cord wrapped around her paw.
“I was thinking, no problem because I have friends who are amputees and I started thinking, oh my God, I could solve this problem, too.”
The problem smith is talking about is living with PTSD.
Smith was a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and the transition home was difficult.
“It was pretty brutal, and it’s just ironic, you wouldn’t find many women who sat behind and did this as a job,” said Smith. “Like I said it was pretty unique because I was a machine gunner.”
The Department of Veteran Affairs reported that 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives every day.
“There’s a problem to be solved and we gotta figure it out,” said Smith.
Smith looked for other options and thought of a cat.
“What about, if you can put something in your home that’s going to release this natural chemical helping whatever your therapy program is, what if that’s a kitten,” said Smith.
She did some research.
“The purring in a cat release the oxytocin and it’s actually a soothing, happy chemical in your brain,” said Smith.
A therapy dog might not be a good fit for everyone.
“What about if you live in an apartment. What about if you don’t like dogs. I personally love them,” said Smith.
This kitten has a lot in common with wounded veterans. San Diego company “fab lab” is making the leg.
“Hopefully it’s hot pink, voting for hot pink,” said Smith.
The ultimate goal is to make Sophia a therapy cat to help other veterans.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News