Harry the Cat showed up on my Facebook memory today. He joined our animal family on this day, August 31, in 2010. He was a feral kitten who lingered at the shelter until he was 5-months old because he was not friendly or social and he glared at anyone who dare come near his cage. He was housed near my office in the shelter, where I served as executive director until this past March. I walked by him every day, tried to make friends but he just glared, and if I tried to pet him he cringed and sometimes hissed at me.
One day my friend Stacy walked past him and said “Virginia, you need to take this guy home. He looks like your cat Mac, (who passed a year prior) and no one seems to want him.” Far be it from me to not listen to my pal Stacy, so he went home with me that day. We named him Harry the Cat. Not Harry, but Harry the Cat. He spent his first two weeks in the house hiding under and behind the dishwasher. I really to this day don’t know how he got himself wedged in there, but he did, and he only came out to eat and use the litter box after we all went to bed. Slowly he started to be more visible. We just let him be who he was, and after a couple of years Harry the Cat bloomed into an amazing and very entertaining character. One of my favorite things he would do was jump up on the arm of an easy chair you were sitting in, settle on the arm, and then relax his body and fall over like a fainting goat, landing upside down beside you in the chair where he would snuggle in and sleep. Made me laugh every time, and he entertained shelter staff with a display of this behavior at one of our staff holiday parties. Not sure anyone would believe it without seeing it.
Last October, Harry the Cat became very ill on Halloween day. We took him to Dr. Sherri for bloodwork and his white blood cell count was off the chart. We rushed him to Portland Emergency Clinic. Harry The Cat left this world all alone that night. I am still heartbroken at the loss of this quirky and lovable guy, and was so sad that he died in a strange place without his people at his side. Harry, I owe you a painting, but with all of your quirky ways I don’t even know where to start. I just hope it will help with the grief that never really diminished, and losing you was just the beginning of one really painful year filled with loss. Wherever you are, just know we love you, we still tell stories about you, and you will be honored with a painting in good time.