After Tragically Losing His Cats in a House Fire, This Doctor Opened a Unique Clinic With Therapy Cats
He was overwhelming told it was a "terrible idea." Now he has a huge waitlist.
Dr. William Powers, 34, is a family practice physician who runs a clinic called Powers Family Medicine in Farmington Hills, Michigan. But this isn't your ordinary doctor's office. Powers Family Medicine has arcade games, streaming services, and—best of all—three therapy cats. But all of the joy of his one-of-a-kind clinic was actually born out of a personal tragedy Powers endured in 2017.
On November 12th of that year, he awoke to find his living room on fire. He searched for his beloved cats—Arcturus, Sirius, and Cygnus—but couldn't find them before passing out from the smoke. Powers was rescued by first responders, but, tragically, his cats didn't make it, and his house burned down to the ground.
It took him almost a year to recover from the event both emotionally and physically, but, once he did, he decided to start his own clinic centered around his passions, including some feline friends.
Today, Powers Family Clinic has three therapy cats named Phoenix Arcturus Powers, Hyperion Procyon Powers, and Polaris Sirius Powers, all named after stars or other astronomical objects.
They all work in shifts. "Each cat works two days a week," Powers said. "Phoenix does Mondays and Thursdays, Hyperion takes on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Polaris covers Wednesdays and Fridays."
And they're all hypoallergenic, which is a major plus for many of Powers' patients.
"One woman held Polaris and sobbed as she loves cats, but didn't get to pet one for 30 years due to her allergy," he said.
Powers said the goal of his clinic was to create a "fun, bright, cheery" facility "that had a lot of entertainment and geeky decorations." When he told other doctors that he wanted to include therapy cats and games at his clinic originally, he was overwhelmingly told it was a "terrible idea" and that it would seem "unprofessional."
"Pretty much any other doctor I talked to said that such a thing could only really be done in something like a pediatric orthodontics practice, and that grown adults would have none of it," he said.
It was also important to Powers that his clinic be LGBTQIA-friendly. "During residency, I had about 50 transgender patients," he said. "I spent months looking for a place comfortable with me continuing to care for them and couldn't find one. I eventually lost my patience with this resistance and decided to do my own thing."
Of course, all of Powers' naysayers were wrong. Powers Family Medicine opened its doors in early 2019, and it was an overnight success.
"The first few days we were open, my poor receptionist worked like a machine," he said. "We received hundreds of voicemails that first week, and eventually called everyone back and got them scheduled. It took only 110 business days to have 1,000 patients in the practice. I had to cap it at that, and now there's a waiting list, which is also quickly getting filled up."
Though thrilled, Powers was certainly surprised by the success. "It usually takes five to seven years to develop a practice completely from scratch," he noted.
His inspiring story is proof that it's always worthwhile to follow your passions—and that you can never have too many cats, of course.
And if you're a cat lover yourself, check out 21 Photos That Show Why the Internet Is So Obsessed With Cats.
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