How does the old saying go - you don't pick a cat, the cat picks you. That is exactly what occurred when we found Henry - or rather he found us. Shortly after Carrie and I began dating in 1994, Carrie lost her cat in a car accident. After a while, she decided it was time to find another feline companion. We stopped by a pet store that also was a cat rescue. Carrie went into a room with multiple cages and was looking at numerous kitties. While she was playing with one, she felt something touch her shoulder. We looked over and saw this paw on her shoulder, and that it belonged to this handsome orange tabby. Carrie asked "Who is that?" The response was, "Oh, that's Henry". We got Henry out of the cage and he immediately curled up on Carrie's lap. Carrie loves a lap kitty and a snuggler. Upon closer inspection, we saw that Henry had a beautiful white face, that was punctuated with a nice orange goatee right below his mouth. His four white paws were spoted with dots of orange. And a soft soft white fur covered his tummy, with one sprout of white shooting up the middle of his ride side. Henry seemed like just the right kitty, but you can never be sure. Until, of course, the cat picks you. Carrie selected a cat carrier and placed it on the floor in the middle of the room. Carrie asked "Henry, do you want to go home?" At which point, Henry immediately walked into the cat carrier, curled up and laid down! Which, I might add, was probably the last time in his life Henry ever voluntarely went into the cat carrier. Henry and Carrie bonded quickly. Every night, Henry would jump up and join Carrie in bed, always curling up and sleeping right next to Carrie. And bringing his little fuzzy blue ball with him to bed. When I came to visit, I discovered that Henry liked the game of 'mouse launching' - taking a little furry mouse and throwing it in the air over Henry's head. He would leap up and bat the mouse back at you. And Carrie discovered that Henry was very fond of 'hide and seek'. You would hide and Henry would stalk you. When he caught you, he was very disappointed if you didn't do a little scream in fear of the great orange hunter finding his prey. In 1995, when Carrie moved in with me and we bought a house, we added Barclay (a sheltie puppy) to the family. Henry and Barclay became fast friends and good buddies for the next 12 years. I think this occurred because Henry thought he was part dog. Henry always had the upper hand though, because he could leap to places Barclay couldn't reach. Which, of course, frustrated Barclay. And we would see that frustration at times by having backs of chairs or other pieces of furniture chewed. And the chewing occurred right where Barclay would be standing if Henry were higher up on the furniture, looking down at Barclay. But Barclay would learn get his revenge at night when we went to bed. With all four of us on the bed, Barclay would go over to Henry, take his right paw and starting patting Henry on the head. Henry, not to be outdone, learned to retaliate by biting Barclay's paws. One thing Barclay hates is having someone go after his paws. Over the years, we added to our family. We brought on Maggie, another little kitty. Maggie and Henry never quite saw eye to eye, probably because Henry was used to being the only kitty and was not very friendly in welcoming Maggie on her arrival. But I don't think I ever laughed louder then one day when Maggie just couldn't take it any more. Henry had been doing his usual 'stalking' of Mags when Maggie suddenly turned and attacked. Henry's eyes grew and big as dinner plates and he turned tail and ran for all he was worth. It didn't totally stop Henry from bothering Maggie, but for the 4 remaining years of Maggie's life, he was certainly more tolerant of her after that. And on the puppy front, we added Bonnie, Rusty, Brody, and eventually Ginny Weasley and Lacey. Henry got along great with Bonnie (a 7 year old sheltie). She quickly picked up the 'chasing' game with Henry. Bonnie would lay in our bedroom at night and wait for Henry to show. When she saw Henry, she would chase him down the hall. And Henry loved it. In fact, if he got to the doorway and he saw that Bonnie wasn't looking, he would turn around and wait a moment before sticking his head back in the doorway again. Some times he'd have to do that 3 or 4 times before Bonnie saw him and then the chase would be on. When we added Rusty (a 15 year old golden retriever), Henry wasn't too sure of someone that big. But he quickly discovered that Rusty was a very gentle old soul - and a slow moving one. Henry decided to welcome Rusty to the family by licking his ear (Henry alwayed loved to clean Barclay's ears). Rusty was asleep the time Henry started on his ear. After a few seconds Rusty awoke and didn't quite know what was going on. He let out a loud WOOF and Henry jumped about 5 feet straight up. Rusty never bothered Henry, but Henry decided that he would pass at trying to lick Rusty anymore. After Rusty passed, we added Brody (a 7 year old sheltie). Brody picked up the chasing game (with Barclay and Bonnie now being about 12, they had given up on much of the chasing). But Brody was only with us for about 8 months before he passed suddenly due to heartworm damage. Then a month ago we added Ginny Weasley and Lacey (a 2 year old beagle/pom mix and a 4 year old golden/black lab mix). Henry didn't mind Ginny, but he seemed scared of Lacey. That didn't seem quite right to us, because Henry always showed the puppies just who was boss. But we figured that Lacey was just bigger and faster then other puppies we've had and he would eventually take control. But unfortunately, that never occurred. On Friday night (4/6/07), Henry was in bed with Carrie and was just all lovey and snuggling and purring. On Saturday, it seemed like he was getting a cold. On Sunday, his cold seemed worse and he stopped eating and drinking. We decided to take him to the emergency vet, because kitties won't eat or drink if they can't smell. They gave Henry a couple of shots and some medicine for us to give him for the next few days. They told us that if he wasn't back to eating by Wednesday, to see our regular vet. By Wednesday, Henry was not better, and in fact seemed worse and in constatnt pain. When Carrie went to take him to the vet, she had to search for over a half-hour to find him. Henry had crawled into the back of a shelf in my closet. We feared the worse. And the worse came to happen. After taking x-rays, our vet showed that there were two large masses on Henry's lungs. There was nothing that could be done. Henry had this problem for quite a while, but hid it from us until he just couldn't hide it any longer. By then, it was just a matter of days, if not hours. We couldn't put Henry through anymore pain, and so we said goodbye to him that night. We held him and kissed him as the vet gave him the shot. And it was all over. The world's best kitty was gone. We miss you Henry. We miss that purr, purr, purr that would come from you when we started to pet you. We miss that tail of yours that would never stand 100% straight. Or how that tail would twitch when you heard someone say your name. The house is very empty without you here. We feel less safe without your nightly patrol of the place after everyone went to bed. But mostly we miss your soft green eyes and that personality that was so filled with love. Rest easy, little one. Maggie, Rusty and Brody are there with you at the Bridge. Play with them until that day we can be together again. And don't forget to come back and visit. Mom misses you so much. And so does Dad. We love you, Henry. You were the bestest kitty. Love, Dad |
* Christmas Eve 2007. Hello Big Hulkin' Hank. Mom and I sure miss you. This is our first Christmas in 13 years that you haven't been with us. It just doesn't feel right without seeing you laying on the couch staring at your ornament hanging on the Christmas tree. You always knew which one was yours. We didn't put up a tree this year because of the two new kittens in the house (Calvin & Hobbes). They are climbers, and I'm afraid the tree wouldn't have lasted long with them around. You were always so good. Carrie is right that I got spoiled with how good cats can be because of you. You were never trouble, and I am afraid that trouble is the middle name of these kittens. But they help take the pain away of not having you around. And I know that you, Rusty, Brody and Maggie are here in spirit, and will be with us Christmas day. You are certainly in our hearts, now and everyday. We miss you Henry. Love, Dad.
*April 11, 2008 Hello Henry. It has now been a year since you left us. Mom and I have been thinking about you all this week. It is nice having Calvin & Hobbes with us, but it is not the same as having our big, honking Hankster around. You were such a wonderful kitty, never (well, hardly ever) causing any problems. Mom especially misses you at night, snuggling up to her and doing your purr-purr-purr. But she knows you still come around to visit, as she feels your presence. And that makes us both happy. Be good, Henry. Love, Dad.
* Christmas Day, 2008, Merry Christmas, Henry. It is hard to think of Christmas and not think of you. I love that picture we have of you with you peering out from under the tree skirt. You always loved Christmas, and jumping in the wrapping paper. Calvin & Hobbes seem to enjoy it too, but not as much as the Hankster loved it. Mom and Dad miss you. Rest easy Henry. Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2009 Hi Big Hank. It is so hard to believe that it has been 2 years since you left us. You were always such a good boy. I know mom misses you, especially at night. Calvin and Hobbes usually sleep with us (and the 5 puppies) now in the bedroom, but neither curl up on the bed next to mom like you used to. Mom loved you sleeping on the top of her head. Every cat, and dog, are different and special, but I am really realizing just how special you were. You were such a joy to have around. Mom and I miss you Henry. But we know you are at peace and without pain, and that is comforting to us. You will always be alive in our hearts. Love, Dad.
* December 25, 2009. Merry Christmas, Henry! We miss you, Big Hank. You and Barclay always loved Christmas - and especially the tree! Barclay and Bonnie joined you at the Bridge this year, so I hope the three of you are again playing together. Come by and visit. Mom really misses you at night. We love you, Henry. Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2010 Hello Hankster. Mom and I have been talking about you. Calvin & Hobbes are fun - but they are no Henry!!! You really were a special kitty. We miss our big honking Hank. Mom says she sees you visiting now and then. Stop by more often, Big Guy. Love, Dad
* Christmas, 2010 Merry Christmas, Henry! I have to tell you, the longer with have Calvin & Hobbes, the more I appreciate you! LOL C & H are good kitties, but you were definitely the best (as Carrie always told me). And especially at Christmastime, I always remember you laying by your ornament, and you & Barclay playing with the presents (especially after everything was unwrapped!) Mom and I miss you Big Hulking Hank! Love, Dad.
* Christmas, 2011. Merry Christmas, Henry! You & Barclay always loved the Christmas season. Mom & I miss you both so much this time of the year. We love you Honkster! Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2012. Hello Hankster. So very hard to believe that it has been 5 years since you left us. You were such a good kitty. And I know Mom misses you very much. Dad does too. Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2013. Wow - it just doesn't seem possible that it has been 6 years since we said goodbye. You were always right there, yet never seemed to cause a problem (unlike Calvin & Hobbes). We miss you, big guy. Rest easy. Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2014. Oh Big Hank, 7 years have passed so quickly. We miss you Henry. And we will always hold you in our hearts. Thank you for sharing your world with us. Love, Dad.
* April 11, 2017. Hello, Hankster. So hard to believe it has now been 10 years since we said goodbye. So much has happened in that time. We still have Ginny Weasley, but otherwise a whole new crew. And after 13 years in Memphis, we moved to South Carolina. But you are still in our hearts. And no matter how much time (or miles) pass, you will be with us forever. We miss you Henry. Love, Dad.