Tom Stewart of Martin recently welcomed his cat Henry home after the feline went missing nearly two years ago.
Loyalty is a word usually associated with a dog, but just ask Martin resident Tom Stewart to talk a bit about his very special and loyal feline.
At first glance, Henry seems like an ordinary gray-striped cat, but just listen to his life story thus far and it’s easy to see how cats have earned the distinction of having nine lives.
Stewart, a self-proclaimed animal lover, once had a visit from a very pregnant cat who was looking for somewhere to have her litter. When she did give birth, three of the kittens died, leaving only a Siamese-looking kitten and Henry. Henry was immediately determined to make his presence known and found mischief whenever and wherever he could. He was always around for the dinner bell.
A visit to the vet, however, set the wheels rolling towards disaster.
“We carried Henry to the vet to be fixed, but when we brought him home, he started dragging his left hind foot,” Stewart said. “I carried him back to the vet and the vet said he must have struck a bone and there was nothing he could do about it, so I brought him home.”
Stewart, an insurance salesman for 27 years, lived on Elm Street and Henry would sometimes venture one street over on Summer Street. Before long, Stewart got reports that kids had been roughhousing with Henry and cut two holes in the cat’s ear, but it was “nothing serious,” according to Stewart.
It was apparently very serious to Henry, however, because after the bad experiences at the vet’s office coupled with the actions of area children, Henry had had enough.
“He just went off down the street and we never saw him anymore. He left. It was too rough for him. The doctor was rough and the kids were rough,” Stewart said.
That was about two years ago. Fast forward to two weeks ago and Stewart noticed a strange cat on his back door step. He was used to cats coming by the house, but this particular cat was dragging his left hind foot.
A visit from Stewart’s daughter, Wanda Washburn, of Jackson, confirmed the truth.
“As soon as she got out of the car, Henry came up to her. She said, ‘Daddy, here’s Henry. He’s come home,’” Stewart said.
As further confirmation, Stewart looked for the places on Henry’s ear and they were there. He then examined his back foot.
“I called him and he recognized me and rubbed up against me. I went to the back door where he was always fed and fed him. He had a special chair in the kitchen and he jumped on it and curled up. He was finally at home and he’s still there,” Stewart said. “If it hadn’t been for my daughter, I’m not sure I would have recognized him.”
“I don’t know where he’s been or why he’s back, but he’s never forgotten anyone. Dogs and cats are smart.”
Stewart’s prodigal cat has returned, maybe having lost a life or two of the nine, but never having forgotten the kindness paid to him by his loving family.