The Story of Hank

cat_large_Hank_09340_1When you meet a Hank you just know he’s going to be a special guy, and our Hank is no exception. A tall brown tabby with rugged good looks, Hank is a true gentleman to all who he encounters, both humans and animals alike.

Gentle, kind, easygoing and never upset or aggressive, he possesses the kind of grace and ease of manner that people pay big bucks to learn how to have. His foster mom Becky describes him as dashing. He has that magical touch that draws people (and animals) to him – he’s basically the Oprah of cats.

Laid back and filled with love and affection, Hank is officially known as the “the gentle giant”, which shows in his calm and unassuming manner. He loves being around people and is happiest with others, especially if belly rubs are involved. This is true even when he’s sleeping – he’ll look up, make eye contact, chirp at you in a pleasant way and then go back to sleep. Could you ask for a more darling boy?

Life, however, hasn’t always been as kind and gracious to Hank as he’s been to others. Hank came to us from a growing colony of cats who visit a volunteer-run feeding station and his genial nature towards humans suggest that he was likely dumped there, or else abandoned nearby. He was living outside and surviving, but just barely. He had bite wounds, an eye infection and his ear was torn down the middle.

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X-ray of Hank showing the pellets in his body

As if that wasn’t bad enough, his alert foster soon noticed something strange when she pet him: there were bumps on his legs, bumps on his head and bumps on his chest. Tiny bumps that could only be one thing: pellets. Once at the vet, it was confirmed: Hank had at least 30 lead pellets lodged inside his body – a large amount for anyone, never mind a small animal. They were everywhere: his legs, his chest, his head, his back. In one paw alone, there were 10 pellets and the amount and location of the pellets suggested that someone had cornered this sweet boy and purposefully shot him, multiple times over. There are no words for something as cruel and heartless.

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Some of the pellets removed from Hank

At the time of his first vet visit, pellets had started to splinter off and the lead was likely suppressing his immune system, hence the poor condition he was found in. He was also starving, eating two full sized cans of food himself everyday, another side effect of having lead trapped in his body. So far he has had two surgeries and still all the pellets have not been removed. In fact, more are still being discovered. He will probably require at least one more operation and his care has cost more than $1,000 – but this boy is priceless and worth every penny.

Hank is thriving in his foster home, where he plays big brother to shy and nervous cats, teaching them that humans are okay, in spite of the horrific and unimaginable treatment he has received in the past. He has also befriended an anxious dog, teaching her that cats are okay, having calmly rubbed up against her as soon as they met. He loves playing with not only his foster cat brothers, but also the resident foster rabbits – they chase him and he chases back. To say that Hank is awesome and loved by all is an understatement. He also loves food and being cuddled, but who doesn’t?

But the one thing that Hank loves most is to be loved. His ideal life is one that includes lots of windows to bird watch, lots of cuddling and shy animals he can befriend. Happily, all of that is about to come true – after only two and a half weeks on our website, Hank is being adopted and will be living with a shy cat named Malcolm. As soon as Hank met his adopter, Dani, he ran over to her purring – it was love at first sight! Dani says that Hank’s life will be far better than it has ever been, filled with love, cuddles and all the indoor bird watching he could hope for.

According to his foster, if Hank were human he’d still be a friendly giant, using his strength to help others. In spite of the atrocious treatment he has experienced in the first years of his life, he has opened his heart again and again and is a shining example of courage and love. As Becky said, Hank ”deserves to be loved for the rest of eternity”. Nothing could be truer.

You can help VOKRA pay for Hank’s ongoing vet bill, as well as food and medication for the other cats in our care, by donating today.

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Post written by Ellen R.

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