Free cat snuggles available at Calgary airport to calm weary travellers and staff
A 'super loving and super cuddly' cat named Taz is making the rounds at YYC
Cats have a bit of a reputation for being stand-offish, or at least picky about whom they'll cuddle with and where.
But Taz, a short-haired tabby cat, is breaking that stereotype at the Calgary International Airport.
Dressed in a cherry red vest that reads "Pet Me" in all capital letters, he's one of two cats that regularly visits the airport with the Pet Access League Society (PALS), offering free snuggles to anyone who wants one.
"He's just super loving and super cuddly," said owner and PALS volunteer Heather Rutherford.
The program aims to reduce anxiety and stress that can be associated with delayed flights or long lines, and also helps to cheer travellers who miss their pets back home.
Rutherford was a volunteer with the stress-reducing therapy dogs program at the airport, which began in April 2016.
When she adopted Taz in October 2016, she recognized he'd make a great addition to the four-legged airport team, given his gentle "personality that just loved everybody," she said.
She got him screened and approved to volunteer at the airport, and says she's had nothing but positive feedback since then.
Peggy Blacklock, manager of airport community engagement, said the cats are just as popular with the staff as they are with travellers, if not more so.
"They have quite a fan base among the employee base here at YYC," she said.
"It just is a great stress reliever. And they're so cute" she remarked.
Beverly Newton, who was travelling through the airport Monday morning, said the time spent with Taz at the terminal was "heartwarming."
"Nothing beats having a nice furry little pet to say hi to."