By Caitlin Jill Anders
"When people first meet Raul, their reaction is usually delight mixed with disbelief.
Ever since he was a kitten, Raul has always been a little different than most cats.
When Raul's human siblings would have friends over for play-dates, he would always sit and watch the action, even when things got loud and hectic. He was never afraid of chaos and loved hanging out with everyone he met, and one day his mom realized he could use his special traits to help people.
"One of my friends, a teacher, suggested that I bring him into special education classrooms," Sarah Morr, Raul's mom, told The Dodo. "At first I thought it was a weird idea, but when I looked into it, I found that therapy animals are not only a very real thing but they also can provide so many benefits to the people."
Morr got Raul certified as a therapy animal and began taking him into schools to work with kids in need. As soon as he started, it was clear to everyone around him that this was Raul's true calling.
"Raul takes his job seriously and is the calmest, most patient cat I have ever met," Morr said. "He calms kids down with nothing more than his presence and always seems interested in whatever the children are working on."
Raul performs many different duties while visiting schools. He sits with the kids while they read aloud to help boost their confidence and improve their reading skills, and he also works with the school counselor to help kids be more comfortable expressing their feelings.
"He is able to take some of that sadness or stress away because he calmly listens to whatever they have to say," Moor said. "He provides unconditional love and understanding and I think some of the kids that have been made fun of or bullied for being different really identify with him because he doesn't act like a 'normal' cat."
Raul also works in a special education classroom, where he lets kids push him around the hallways of the school in his stroller. When other kids in the school come up to the student who is pushing Raul, it gives them a chance to answer questions about him and have interactions that are important for their social development.
"The children not only increase their mobility and social skills, they also get a boost of self-confidence from all the positive attention they get," Morr said. "Raul just enjoys being pushed around and lays in the stroller being adored."
Raul is such a calm, patient cat, that most people tend to treat him more like a human. Being with Raul is like being with an old friend, and everyone who interact with him is instantly a little calmer and happier.
"When people first meet Raul, their first reaction is usually delight mixed with disbelief," Morr said. "They ask me questions about what he likes to do, and what he thinks about things. The kids all adore him and I have a folder full of drawings and notes that children have made for him. Basically kids and adults all treat him as if he were a good friend."
When he's at home, though, Raul is just like any other playful cat. He loves to look out the window, play with his cat brother Carl, and play tag with his mom and siblings. But no matter what he's doing, he has to be around people he loves at all times, even when he's just taking a nap.
Raul is an incredibly calm and compassionate cat, and is making such a difference in the lives of every kid he meets.
You can follow Raul and all his adventures on his Instagram account."
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