It's said that not all heroes wear capes; but this hero comes with his own cat brush. Meet Terry Lauerman, cat cuddler extraordinaire, who has become something of an Internet sensation thanks to his favorite hobbies: cuddling cats and taking naps.
Earlier this week, the Internet fell in love with this brush-wielding, cat-loving hero after the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin, shared photos of Terry napping with the shelter cats he comes and sees every single day.
About six months ago, Terry, who is a retired Spanish teacher, showed up at The Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary with a simple request: He wanted to drop by and brush the shelter cats on a regular basis. It wasn't long before Terry was volunteering every day he could; now he's at the shelter every day, spending up to three hours at a time with the cats.
Terry even brings his own brush to groom the cats. And it's just one more thing that makes them feel special.
"He says it's his magic brush," says Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder and president of the shelter. "That's why the cats love him so much. He's not just a grandpa to the cats. He's the grandpa to everyone at Safe Haven."
He makes sure each and every cat in the shelter gets some much-needed TLC. He brushes and grooms each one and gives them plenty of cuddles. Of course, all that cat cuddling is pretty hard work. And with a purring cat on your lap, it's hard to fault Terry for falling asleep. We like to call it the "Catnap Trap." They're pretty hard to escape! (And honestly, who would want to?)
Terry is an exceptionally dedicated volunteer, and thanks to all the time he spends with these kitties, he can tell you the likes and dislikes of each and every cat at the shelter. Safe Haven is a shelter that specializes in rescuing cats with disabilities and special needs, making the love and affection that Terry shows them that much more impactful.
"We rescue cats with disabilities and special needs — anywhere from anxiety to paralysis to diabetes to thyroid problems," said Feldhausen. "Anything that could put them at risk at another shelter," she continued, as special needs cats are often at higher risk of euthanasia at shelters.
In an interview with Upworthy, Terry encouraged other cat lovers thinking about working with special needs cats.
"It's well worth it, if you have the patience. It takes a very special type of person to work with a special needs cat," he said. Terry also introduced his favorite cat at Safe Haven, a tabby named Buckhorn, who recently lost his brother to an illness.
"He was so scared," Terry said. "He hid behind a counter for weeks and I didn't know he existed. Now he's come out and he's become my special friend and that's going to stay with me forever."
When told of his newfound Internet fame, Terry said that he hoped all those people would donate to cats in need.
Thank you, Terry, and Safe Haven, for all you do. And thanks for reading!