British girl with autism and her companion cat

(Courtesy of Inside Edition)
(Courtesy of Inside Edition)

- Iris Grace Halmshaw, 6, of England, was diagnosed with autism when she was 2. She struggled to come out of her shell until her mother introduced her to Thula, a Maine coon cat, according to He mother said that Iris struggled with eye contact, interaction, and other behavior.

But after Iris and Thula began spending time together, the girl's life began to change and improve.

"[Thula and Iris] settled on the sofa together and Iris played on her iPad with one hand on Thula gently stroking her fur," mom Arabella Carter-Johnson told "It was as if they had always been friends."

Thula accompanies Iris on walks, rides along on bike rides, and even plays with her in the bath.

Maine coons are known to be gentle and friendly. It is a large breed; a male Maine coon can weigh 20 to 30 pounds.

Read more about this amazing relationship here.

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