On 19 January 2017 I was home minding my own business when a message pinged through to our facebook page.
After getting a bit more information, and calling our vets to make an appointment so I could take him straight there, I went off to collect him. He was indeed in a bad way, unable to stand and showing little sign of life other than to chunter occasionally. I assumed that having been found at the roadside he’d been hit by a car and had all kinds of horrendous internal injuries. My fear was that he’d either die en route to the vet or that the vet would say that the best option was to put him to sleep.
Whilst we normally take our time over naming cats and thinking what suits them, we also feel strongly (and perhaps a little over sentimentally) that they should not die without a name. Perhaps it was partly a way of distracting myself from the fear of what was going to happen, but through the journey across town from the North of the city I was looking at names of roads and names on signs, casting around for something suitable for this poor cat. Stuck in traffic on the inner ring road my eyes lighted on the old Henderson’s Relish factory with its orange sign outside. Given that the feline in question was also orange … this seemed a suitable option.
So the “old cat in a bad way” was Henderson by the time we got to our vets. I took him in to see Dr Tim, and poor Hendo laid on the examination table, too weak to move or protest …. but purring like crazy.
Henderson was very dehydrated and weak, but no sign of him having been hit by a car. He stayed at the vets overnight on a drip to rehydrate him. Beyond immediate and necessary care it was difficult to know what best to do as this could be someone’s “lost” cat. We started a huge search for whoever maybe missing him. Hundreds of shares of our post on facebook and a reach of thousdands. No one came forward.
I brought him home the following day. He had to go in a large dog crate to have some space to himself as the rescue rooms were full with other cats. He sat there looking fed up and refused to eat.
We stressed about him and tried everything. Our lovely friends at Pet Company treated him to a selection pack of anything tasty he might possibly be tempted with.
Slowly we started to get there … and he began to mix in with the others
Having got through the stressy period of him being really poorly, he presented us with a new challenge. Despite him appearing to get along ok with the other cats, he was perhaps more stressed than we appreciated. He’d spray everything in the house. Just how can one small cat contain so much pee? There were days when I’d not finished cleaning up one incident before he’d attacked something else, and whilst I was cleaning that he’d pee on a third thing. Our relationship became pretty tense for a while.
We were glad when he was settled enough to go outside for a while. These were the days before our super cat proof fencing, so he was allowed out initially just on a harness … carefully guarded by Flipper. It was good to see him empty his bladder outside rather than inside. He went missing briefly once allowed off the harness … but Flipper our expert finder, discovered him behind next door’s shed and came to let me know where he was.
Thankfully although the pissing period seemed to go on forever at the time, it actually settled after a few months.
Once more settled Hendo became an awesome Uncle to many kittens we had in the following months/years.
Whoever they were and however shy they were, they all wanted to sit next to uncle Hendo. He’s no saint, and has been heard to say that he doesn’t like kittens very much, but he’s quiet and warm and lots of poor little ones who are missing their mummies have got huge comfort from snuggling up to him.
He’s a very loved cat now but we’re sadly aware that even from the start of this story his blood tests were strange. He’s gradually been diagnosed with more and more health issues. He keeps fighting and we keep loving him. That’s the best any of us can do.
We’re grateful … and amazed to find he’s still with us three years on … and so glad that 19 January three years ago was a day when I wasn’t at work and we were able to respond to the request to help him.