Denver Airport & Xeli the Therapy Cat

Therapy cat improves the travel experience at Denver International Airport

Denver + Xeli

Because many have experienced the stress that comes from airport travel – running to catch a flight, making alternate plans for canceled flights, or passing the time during long layovers –  Denver International Airport opted to do something special to help ease travelers, and they recently added a unique member to their team, a therapy cat named Xeli!

"It’s been great having her on the concourse visiting people and making people smile."

In 2015, Denver International Airport created what is now the largest airport therapy animal program in the country. Their Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS) is made up of more than 100 certified therapy dogs. But funnily enough, despite its acronym, the program didn’t have any therapy cats. That is, until October 2017.

Meet Xeli, CATS first certified therapy cat, certified by Pet Partners.

Xeli Therapy Cat

At just 12 pounds, Xeli has a very important job: to boost people’s moods and help enhance the travel experience for visitors.

Along with her CATS comfort crew, Xeli volunteers for two-hour shifts (with a human companion) and can be found wearing a distinctive blue, plaid Pet Me vest. Passengers can hug, pet and take pictures with Xeli and can check the airport’s Twitter account to see when Xeli will be out.

Xeli Therapy Cat

“We’re really excited to have Xeli. We know there are a lot of people who love cats just as much as people who love dogs,” said airport spokeswoman Emily Williams. “It’s been great having her on the concourse visiting people and making people smile.”

Next time you find yourself amidst the hustle and bustle of the Denver International Airport, take a break for a furry hello.

The Petco Foundation and Merrick Pet Care are joining together to support the incredible work of service, therapy, and other working animals who save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Donate today to support Helping Heroes like Xeli.

Interested in volunteering as a therapy pet team?

Learn more about becoming a certified therapy team with Pet Partners or begin training with your dog at Petco. Learn more about dog training and Canine Good Citizen Certification.