Kelly Nugent moved from Florida to New York two months ago to take care of her father. She also brought her cat, Sweet Potato, who was there to help.
She desired to be near her father, who was undergoing treatment for bone marrow cancer. Nugent told The Dodo that the man “started having a really hard time moving around and doing things” and that he “pretty much needed 24-hour care while he was recuperating.” My best friend, my father, and I both knew we needed to be there.
Her 2-year-old cat isn’t a licensed therapy animal — but he’s the next best thing.
“He’s the sweetest cat on the earth,” Nugent said. “He just loves everybody and wants to be around people. He has that dog-like personality.”
While Nugent’s dad loves animals, he considers himself more of a dog person. He’d never owned a cat and didn’t think of them as particularly loving or supportive animals. But Sweet Potato made sure to change all that.
“As soon as we got there and Sweet Potato acclimated, he became a madman for my dad,” Nugent said. “He would not leave his side, and still, to this day, they’re just attached at the hip.”
“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,” Nugent added. “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.”
The cat and her father have grown close and do everything together in the two months since Nugent and Sweet Potato came.
“As a result, when my dad sits in a chair and puts his arm on it, Sweet Potato would always leap up, sit in the small nook in his arm, and snuggle with him, according to Nugent. He will rest in either his bed or his room.
When my father is on the computer, Sweet Potato will rush to the keyboard. Sweet Potato likes to sit on the paperwork while my dad is doing any paperwork at the table. Simply put, he must be on top of him.”
Sweet Potato and her dad are the subjects of Nugent’s TikTok videos, which have amassed a sizable following. It was really wonderful to him that so many strangers were supporting him, Nugent said after reading all the comments.
But the greatest joke between Nugent and her father is that he and Sweet Potato are nearly identical. My favorite aspect, according to Nugent, is how many individuals claim to look alike. Sweet Potato and my dad both have white mustaches, which makes us both giggle hysterically.
Since nurse Sweet Potato took over, Nugent’s dad’s health has greatly improved. And she can’t help but think her cat has had something to do with it.
“I really think the emotional support of Sweet Potato and the cuddles and just being there — it’s had a huge impact on him,” she said.