Andy the stray cat helped a boy with Asperger's syndrome open up, so when the black cat faced a life-threatening illness, the family got him the help he needed.

Josh Neff, who has Asperger's syndrome, had trouble communicating, his grandmother Kim Neff told ABC News' Jacksonville affiliate WJXX-TV. But when Neff brought home Andy, a stray cat who had been roaming the streets of her friend's neighborhood, she saw an immediate change in Josh.

"Josh opened up," Neff told WJXX. "He became very attached to Andy and named him himself."

Josh and Andy were inseparable.

"He would pet Andy and say he loved him and Andy was his friend," Neff said.

But when Andy got sick, Neff and Josh were devastated.

Andy was a stray cat Kim Neff brought home for her grandson Josh, who has Asperger's.(WJXX) Andy was a stray cat Kim Neff brought home for her grandson Josh, who has Asperger's.

Doctors discovered that Andy had a urinary blockage that was making him ill, according to WJXX. And the surgery that would save his life was too expensive for Neff.

If Andy were to die, Neff feared that Josh would have "a tremendous setback," she told WJXX.

Luckily Neff didn't have to pay. A fund set aside by a Jacksonville animal shelter covered the cost of Andy's surgery.

Josh and Andy were reunited and are living happily at home.