I’m quite late in posting about this, but life has been pretty hectic this summer and blogging just sort of slipped down to the bottom of my priority list. But better late than never I guess. On May 25th of this summer, we finally welcomed a new kitty into our home: a sweet new boy!!
Without any further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the newest member of the family: Mr. Henry Jones!! He’s a 14.1 pound, eight year old Big Red ginger male.
I adopted Henry from the local animal control shelter just a few days after his former family had surrendered him. His former name according to his name tag at the shelter was “Jones”, but I renamed him Henry because he’s huge and ginger colored just like King Henry VIII was. So his full new name is Henry Jones. As you can see, Henry is a BIIIIIG boy, and he’s most likely going to get even bigger now that he’ll be kept in good health and eating good here at my home. He’s a big solid built boy….his head and face are HUGE and he has a stance and gait like a bulldog. But he’s an absolute sweetheart….he’s my Gentle Giant. ❤
I had been planning to adopt another cat for quite some time now since Bailey passed away nearly two years ago. Lexi had been noticeably lonely since she lost her sister, so I figured it was time to get her another companion. I was planning to adopt a kitten that I could bring home as a baby and raise up for the rest of its life just like I’ve done with Lexi. And I did see a few kittens at the shelter that caught my eye. But then I browsed through the adult cat section and took pity on some of the older cats in there when I heard about their background stories.
Henry was one of the older cats whose story tugged at my heartstrings. He was listed as being twelve years old on his cage’s identification tag, although my family veterinarian later examined him after I adopted him and believes that he is actually around eight years old. Henry had just arrived at the shelter only a few days earlier for the second time in his life. His most recent owners surrendered him claiming that they were allergic to him. At that time, the shelter was treating him for gingivitis, watery eyes, some sort of irritation in his left ear, and he was suffering from a common cold that he had caught while staying at the shelter. The staff at the shelter let it be known how disgusted they were at his previous owners for suddenly dumping him at the shelter so late in his life. They mentioned that it would likely be difficult for Henry to find an adoptive family due to his advanced age. I was somewhat relieved to hear from my own veterinarian that Henry isn’t likely as old as the staff at the shelter believed him to be.
I saw and interacted with numerous adult cats at the shelter that day, but I felt such sadness for Henry when I learned about his history. He immediately came right up to me for pets when I approached his cage, and he had such a sweet laid-back disposition. He reminded me a lot of my father’s big orange male cat Dweezil. How could anyone just give up such a sweetie after having had him for so long? Although my intention was to adopt a kitten, I couldn’t stop thinking about Henry after I left the shelter that afternoon. I stewed over it all evening and finally called my father to discuss it with him and seek his advice on which cat I should adopt. (My father owns eight—yes EIGHT—cats, so I consider him somewhat of an authoritative expert on cat ownership.) He advised me that he felt Henry would be a good match as a companion for Lexi since he was older and so laid-back and good-natured. So after I hung up the phone that night, I decided that I would return to the shelter and adopt Henry to join our family. I had to make a few last-minute trips to the pet store that night and hurriedly get the house prepared for his arrival the following day.
I went back to the shelter the very next afternoon to look for Henry. I panicked a bit at first because when I went to the cage where he had been the day before, he was no longer there. After searching the room for a few minutes, I finally found him again. He had been moved to a much larger cage because he was too big to fit comfortably in a normal sized cage. Just as he had done the day before when I first met him, he quickly got up from his bed and came to the door of the cage to say Hello and get some pets. It gave me much happiness to tell the staff on duty that day that I wanted to take him home with me. They were all so elated to hear that I wanted to adopt one of the older cats. I filled out the required paperwork, paid the adoption fee, allowed the on-site veterinarian to administer any remaining medication or vaccines that he needed, and then took him home to begin a new life with me and Lexi.
The first two days were pretty rough for all of us. Naturally, Henry was very overwhelmed and confused from having gone through so many big changes in such a short amount of time. In the span of only four days, he had been abandoned by his previous owners, undergone surgery and various unpleasant medical treatments, been cooped up in a cage for a few days, and then thrust into a new home with a new family and a new big sister who has NOT been accepting of him at all. He’s not de-clawed like Lexi is, so I suffered a few nasty bites and scratches from him due to getting too close to him while he was upset and overstimulated. Good thing I had plenty of antiseptic and bandages on hand to treat my wounds!!!
I kept Henry confined to the guest bedroom for the first few days, but he very quickly settled in and became anxious to explore his new home. I awoke early one morning to the sound of him prying open the bedroom door and jumping over the baby gate that kept him barricaded in the spare bedroom. I jumped out of bed and found him standing in the hallway, ready to begin looking around and exploring. I gave in and supervised him while he went from room to room, sniffing and checking out everything. He finally settled down on the rug in front of the fireplace and helped himself to some of Lexi’s toys in the toy basket.
Due to Henry’s large size, I had to make a few accomodations for him. I had to order an extra large bed for a medium sized dog on Amazon so that he could comfortably sleep in it without having to squeeze himself in there. He got a blue bed and a blue baby blanket, of course. I also had to get a larger sized litter box to accommodate both him and Lexi. Due to Henry’s large size, his need to dig deeply when scratching around in the litter box, and his ability to quickly fill a normal sized litter box with his waste, the new litter box measures three feet wide. It’s by far the biggest litter box any cat of mine has ever had or that I’ve ever seen. It takes 50 pounds of litter to adequately fill it. I’m so glad that I have a spacious utility/storage/laundry room to fit such a giant sized litter box in. Oh the joys of pet ownership!!
During the last two months that Henry has lived in our home with us, he has adjusted very quickly. I can tell that he’s very happy and comfortable here, and he definitely loves his new mommy!!! His new sister Lexi, on the other hand, is another story entirely. I had hoped that Lexi would grow to accept him after a few weeks or so, but that has not yet happened. It’s been two months so far, and she STILL hates his guts. Henry doesn’t really seem to mind her presence as far as I can tell, but Lexi hisses, growls, and tries to attack him every time she lays eyes on him. I have to constantly break up cat fights in here, and the stress and drama is starting to wear thin on me. Lexi has been isolating herself in her bed and on a corner of the couch in the living room ever since Henry arrived, and she refuses to get on my bed anymore now that Henry has been sleeping on it. She tries to avoid being around him as much as possible, and I don’t want her to live like that every day. I want her and Henry to freely and comfortably exist around each other. I’ve been trying everything I can think of to help facilitate a relationship between them. I tried using the Feliway Multi-cat pheromone diffuser, I try giving both cats pets and attention at the same time, I try to get them both to sit on the couch with me at the same time, I feed them treats in close proximity to each other, and I do what I can to let Lexi know that I still love her and that there is still plenty of love and attention for both her and Henry. Nothing seems to be working so far. People tell me that eventually she will realize that Henry is here to stay and finally just accept it, but how long is that going to take?? I don’t want to still be refereeing cat fights six months from now. Henry is such a sweet loving boy that I know Lexi would enjoy having him as a companion and a sibling if she would just accept him and give him a chance.
Despite the nonstop sibling rivalry around here, I’m happy to have Henry here with us and I know he’s happy here, too. He’s an EXTREMELY affectionate cat. He just can’t get enough pets, cuddles, hugs, and kisses from everyone he sees!! And I’ve found that Henry LOVES to give hugs!! Whenever I’m lying down in bed or on the couch, he always lays down on my chest, presses his head against my face, and literally wraps both of his arms around my neck and squeezes just like he’s hugging me. It’s the sweetest thing ever, but his damn claws hurt so bad!!! I’m so tempted to have him de-clawed like Lexi, but I don’t feel it would be right to remove his claws when he’s already lived for so many years with them. There’s got to be a way to teach him to keep his claws retracted when he touches my face and body, or else I’m going to be covered in scratches and puncture marks.
Who knows how many years of life Henry has left in him, but he will be spending the remainder of them in our home with us. He’s ours forever now. Welcome to the family, Henry!!! I’m ready to love and spoil you rotten!!! ❤