Virginia Doctor Gives ‘Get a Cat’ Prescription to Woman Struggling With Depression

older woman kissing cat with farm in background
(Photo Credit; ArtMarie / Getty Images)

When you go to the doctor, you expect to walk away with a prescription. It’s just the way medicine is done these days. But after one woman told her doctor about lingering feelings of sadness, depression, and loneliness, he offered her an unusual script: get a cat.

Doctor prescribes cat to patient with depression

According to the Washington Post, Robin Sipe was grieving the loss of her cat. She was “feeling really sad and depressed” when she went to visit her longtime pulmonologist, Dr. Earl D. King, in September. He’s treated her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for 15 years.

When the doctor entered the exam room, Sipe teared up. “I was really going through a bad time,” she said.

During the visit, King recommended that Sipe consider adopting a new cat. After the appointment, he provided her with a printed summary of their discussion. The paper included advice on getting a high-dose flu shot in October, a COVID vaccination in November – and the instruction to “get a cat.”

“Robin was down in the dumps, crying about the loss of her cat, and I felt that a new cat was the best remedy for her,” Dr. King told the newspaper.

Woman adopts kitten with limb difference

Sipe wasted no time following her doctor’s advice. Immediately after the appointment, she stopped to buy some corn and cantaloupe from a farm produce stand. While there, she saw a black-and-white kitten playing nearby. The kitten was one of a litter of five. Her left front paw was missing.

Chatting with the stand workers, Sipe learned that something fell off a wall in a shed and severed the kitten’s paw. But the limb difference didn’t appear to affect her playfulness or mobility.

Sipe remember her doctor’s prescription.

“I asked if I could take the kitty home and told them I could guarantee that she’d be safe and happy inside,” she said. “They had four other kittens they’d need to find homes for, so they said okay. This sweet little kitten was mine.”

In addition to her fresh produce purchase, Sipe and the workers agreed that she would pay one penny for the kitten. She named the 7-week-old fur baby Earlene in a nod to her doctor.

“He’s always taken the time to look after my entire well-being,” Sipe said. “In this instance, he also treated my heart.”

Earlene is loving life at her new home with Sipe in Grottoes, Virginia. The feline enjoys cuddling, watching TV, and rubbing Sipe’s face with her paw.

“I do believe this was meant to happen with all my heart,” Sipe told the Washington Post. “As far as I’m concerned, she was the pick of the litter.”

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