Thursday, January 21, 2016

Shelter stories: Henri the cat's mysterious injuries

Henri the cat in closeup
Once a week, I head into the Willamette Humane Society and work with the cats up for adoption. I write up their stories for a cat blog, and I share their sweet faces on the shelter's social media sites. Sometimes, I share their stories here, too. Usually, I do that when something has struck a nerve.

That's what happened with this cat, Henri.

He is at least 10 years old, but the staff isn't too sure of his exact age, as he didn't come into the shelter with his life-long owners. Instead, he came in with neighbors who took him in when Henri's owners moved away and left him behind. Those neighbors had a kitty Henri didn't really get along with, so that family he found, all on his own, couldn't keep him.

That's sad enough, getting left behind when you're an old guy and then getting bumped out of a home you choose for a do-over, but Henri's story gets a little worse.

Henri the cat in his kennel

Every cat that comes into the shelter gets a thorough medical once-over. In Henri's medical exam, the team discovered two pretty disturbing things:
  1. Henri can't use his tail at all. He can't lift it, twitch it or feel anything about it. 
  2. Henri has a BB or tiny bullet lodged in his back, near his hip. 
These two things may be related, in that Henri was shot and it caused nerve damage. Or they may be two separate incidents. Tail injuries like that can also be caused by car bumps or by forceful tail pulling.

Henri the cat standing up

So this means, in a best-case scenario, he was abused just once. In a worst-case scenario, he was abused a few times. And he was abandoned.

Typically, cats like this are a little shut down in the shelter. They cower and shrink and tremble. They know that humans can be mean, and they try to avoid them.

Henri is different.

This guy is the first to mewl for attention when people walk into his room. He grabs hands, hair and faces of people walking by. He will not take "no" for an answer. And when people do pet him, he is enthusiastic about it. He gave me the nicest shoulder massage yesterday when I was walking down the hall with him. And he nuzzled my cheeks goodbye, too.

His body may be damaged, but his spirit certainly is not.

As an older, all-black cat, Henri faces some pretty significant adoption hurdles. That's compounded by the fact that he may not like other cats (he didn't like the one in that temp home, for example). Henri is also just really, really restless in the shelter. He wants out, out, OUT of any place where he's staying. You'll see that in the video I shot. Notice how he's trying to open the door.

That might mean he'll need a home with a catio, or he might need a person willing to leash-train him. Not everyone is willing to do that.

Henri needs the help of a community, so I'm reaching out here.

If you know of anyone who might be willing to hop up to Oregon to visit this guy, share this post. And if you're moved and want to help, click this page to make a donation for his care. You don't have to, of course, but every little bit helps cats like this to succeed.

I'll keep working with Henri and promoting him on the WHS sites. But I'd love the extra promo help. I think Henri deserves it, after all he's been through. Don't you?

Happiest of updates: Henri went to his forever home a little earlier today! Hooray! 1/21/2016 @ 9pm.


  1. poor baby...hope he finds a good home with forever people

    1. I just found out that he was adopted today! I love a happy ending.

  2. Oh, I was so happy to see that great news at the end! Henri definitely deserves that happy new home.