Police officer partners with hairless cats for community outreach

Posted at 11:26 AM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 11:26:27-05

ROANOKE, VA (WFXR/CNN) - A police officer has teamed up with his hairless cats to go on special missions across the city.

Meet Rocky and Apollo – two sphinx cats. The breed doesn’t have hair and no whiskers, either.

But they're on a special mission: brightening the day for residents at friendship. Officer R.A. Hodges, who adopted the cats from a family in Salem, VA, takes the pair to nursing and rehabilitation homes on his own time.

"I like to try to use them as some sort of a therapy or at least a distraction from some of the people that are in nursing homes, rehabilitation homes, going through maybe some hard events in their life," he said.

From startled to scared, grossed out to giggles, people quickly fall for these unusual felines. Some say they even feel like velvet when they pet the cats.

"Some people say they're either really ugly, some people say they're really cute. I think a lot of it is almost a little disbelief because they've never seen anything like that before. A little bit of a shock factor. But then once you get over that and you see that they're very affectionate, very loving very energetic, they definitely warm up to them," Hodges said.

Hodges takes the cats around the community on his own time because as an officer, he deals with negative situations frequently. This way, he’s dealing with positive situations.

“There are times that you're able to get those good nuggets and positive feedback and actually help people or make them feel better or distract them in any way from whatever they may be going through. It makes you feel good. As an officer makes, it feels like you've done a good job," he said.

Copyright 2018 R.A. Hodges, WFXR via CNN.