Henry is a hard working cat. He has published two books and replied to more than 20,000 letters. This three-legged cat is an example to thousands of people around the nation.
But Henry always didn’t have the life. This inspiring cat used to be homeless. After Southern California’s 2003 Cedar Fires, Henry ended up on the doorsteps of an unscorched home where a displaced family was staying. The family took the stray cat in. All was well until one day when Henry wandered out. He came back with one of his front legs crushed.
The family could not afford the medical bills, so the home’s owner, Cathy Conheim, had the responsibility of taking the cat to the animal hospital. The veterinarian gave Conheim two choices: euthanize Henry or amputate the limb and see how he recovers.
Conheim, a psychotherapist, was not a fan of cats. In fact, she hated them ever since she was a child. She began to despise them when she saw the neighborhood cats chase or attack the birds outside her home. For 60 years, Conheim simply didn’t want to do anything with cats.
Outside the veterinarian’s office, Conheim and her roommate made the choice of euthanizing Henry. It seemed like it was the only rational choice until Conheim couldn’t get out of the car. She said when they made the decision, Henry just kept purring and looking into her eyes.
Conheim started to overcome her hatred for cats when she saw that look in Henry’s eyes. And instead she chose the option to save Henry’s life and take a chance on this furry species that she had grown up despising.
She brought Henry back to her home in San Diego, still not convinced that she wanted a cat in the house. She then sent an email to 20 friends, telling them the story of her three-legged cat.
Those friends forwarded Conheim’s e-mail to their friends, who forwarded it to their friends, and so on, until strangers were contacting Conheim or, more so, Henry. They shared their own personal problems, challenges, and frustrations.
Conheim answered all of the emails personally and individually. She at first signed her name, but then she started to answer in the voice of Henry.
This psychotherapist began counseling through Henry. She would give words of advice and therapy to cancer patients, wounded soldiers, family of murder victims, and anyone else who needed someone to talk to about their problems.
Some people have even flown to San Diego to meet this three-legged celebrity and inspiration.
One letter that was addressed to Henry had eleven $100 bills in the envelope. The note in it said: “You seem like the kind of guy who would know what to do with this.”
Another woman contacted Henry because her friend saw her husband get murdered. The husband was a cat lover, and the friend asked Henry to write the woman. Henry responded to the woman, and she has written back four times.
Conheim published Henry’s story in two books, Henry’s World, a book for adults, and What’s The Matter With Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat, a children’s book. All of the profits from sales go to humane societies and animal-welfare groups.
She has even had speaking engagements, and most recently at a Southern California Church. Henry watched Conheim from a pew as she spoke.
“Henry is not a Republican or Democrat, he belongs to no specific church. He is not black, Hispanic or white, he is not gay or straight,” Conheim said at the church. “He is just a mixed-breed country cat brought here to remind us of what matters, what we need to do on this Earth, and to remind us that the power of love can melt all hatred and hurt, move hearts, minds and mountains.”
For Conheim, at first, she was only planning to keep Henry for no more than two weeks just to help him recover from the surgery. But after two days of being around Henry, that completely changed. He wasn’t going anywhere. The spirit that he showed during his recovery captured the hearts of everyone in the house including Dolly, the poodle of the house.
Conheim is still answering mail from people. She also looks for other ways to share Henry’s message. She says that this is one of the lessons that this inspirational three-legged cat has taught her.
“The fact that you can’t do everything doesn’t give you permission to do nothing.”
Source: Baltimore Sun