Cool Cats: Service With a Sniff

Cosmo the cat uses his super smelling skills to give his diabetic owner freedom and comfort.


Cosmo the cat is out of this world. Besides being a compassionate companion and concerned best friend to his owner, Lori Zanitsch, the 6-year-old domestic shorthair also detects changes in his human mom’s blood sugar. The feline service animal’s sixth sense skill literally saved the type 1 diabetic’s life after she nearly slipped into a coma. “I had one really close call not that long ago,” says Zanitsch from her home in St. Louis. “I probably would not have woken up if it wasn’t for him. He was able to arouse me enough to call 911. I only wish that he could dial the numbers for me!”

Cosmo may not be able to make a phone call, but his special kitty senses make him one cool cat.

Zanitsch adopted Cosmo as an 8-week-old rescue kitten and, from the start, she set out to teach him to be a social, service-oriented pet.  “As soon as he came home, I put a harness on him,” recalls Zanitsch, who has been an elementary special education teacher for 23 years. “He was going to be a family pet, but he was also going to do service work, like touch therapy. So for the first year of his life, he was with me 24/7. Wherever I went, besides school, he was there getting socialized and being out and about.”

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