There is always a story to be told and this one melts the heart. Over a year ago, a big, wild, beautiful yet mean spirited stray cat showed up in my son’s back yard and he brought attitude (or kittitude) with him. He began to bully the neighborhood strays who practically lived there as my son and his wife fed them well. Hemingway was now a menace to the neighborhood and was a threat not only to the other cats but to anyone who tried to be friendly with him.

His aggression was nothing more than a natural display to guard his new territory and that he did. My son, Ron and his wife, Darla are avid cat lovers like myself and they were determined along with a lot of patience to transform the situation and rehabilitate the bully in order to have a peaceful sanctuary for all involved. Now, Hemingway is something of a legend not because he is big and resembles the Lion King, but because he is a polydactyl with a teeny tiny meow. For those who are not sure what a polydactyl cat is, it is one that has been born with more toes than normal on their paws. Hemingway has six therefore landing him with the name “six toe” before becoming Hemingway.

As fate would have it, he soon became knighted into the family and while the other cats whom were not so accepting of the idea soon began to warm up to him. He too began to lighten up and become more friendly, so friendly that he is a father to some very adorable kitties especially one that we’ve all become very fond of and his name is Shakespeare. But a few months ago, Hemingway showed up with both of his ears bleeding badly. We thought he had been attacked and my son tried to coerce him into the house so they could get him to a vet but it did not work he only ran away. Day after day, month after month, he came around and his ears were growing worse and trying to capture him was like trying to pull teeth out of a perfectly good cat, it just wasn’t happening.

They continued to feed him and with all efforts tried to get him into the house until one night, last week, Hemingway showed up looking tired and distressed. He stood at the French door not waiting to be fed but waiting to come inside. It was a defining moment indeed and he was ready. My son let him in and they fed him then made a comfy bed for him in a kennel. His ears were bleeding badly, so badly it looked as if his ears were just barely attached. He refused to allow Darla to medicate him, which she is very good at, so they made him as comfortable as possible until the next morning when without a fight, they put him in a kitty transport and took him to their Vet.

Hemingway’s ears before going to the Vet

After the doctor ran tests and did his examination on Hemingway, the news he gave brought tears to us all. The Vet reiterated that he had never seen a case of ear mites such as that of poor Hemingway. Not only were the ear mites an issue, but he had several infections and his blood count was very low. My son bargained as I knew he would begging for any positive answers to be found in order to save the cat. The doctor then gave the news no one was prepared to hear and said that Hemingway had FIV which is Feline aids then suggested putting Hemingway down. My son came to me asking for advice but I was in tears over the news and was incapable of giving him what he wanted to hear. I told my son that Hemingway did not need to suffer anymore but I think my answer spurred a deep down determination on his part to do research which ultimately led to my son telling the doctor to do what he had to do about the ears, infection and even possibly neutering the cat. The Vet agreed but did not guarantee Hemingway would survive, but he did!

In fact, he ate a big meal after his surgery which indeed was a good sign. He was friendly with the staff and they all fell in love with him. He stayed in the kitty hospital for over a week until today, 09/13/2019. While there, he was shown love and each day was a success as he proved to be the warrior he really was and is. His blood count returned to normal, the infections cleared up and his appetite was that of a very healthy Hemingway. I don’t think the staff were ready for him to leave as he is one of their biggest successes, but they knew he had a loving family ready to bring him home.

Hemingway being greeted by Ember

The above photo was taken this morning when he arrived. His ears look like brand new ones and he still has that appetite that makes us all smile. The other cats welcomed him and it was obvious Hemingway was missed. Of course all the cats are unique and have wonderful personalities and being that Hemingway is FIV positive is no exception he too is very unique and has become a part of this family. He will be able to live a normal healthy life and there is no reason he can’t! That night when he showed up at the door, we all felt that euthanasia of this cat would probably be the outcome. But thankfully, my son proved it was an unnecessary measure and now life with Hemingway will continue.

For information purposes, humans cannot contract Feline aids it can only be spread from cat to cat through bite wounds and scratches. All of the cats here have been immunized and see the Vet regularly as will Hemingway from this point on. What seemed hopeless walked through the front door this morning with a new attitude proving he was indeed a little version of the Lion King. He will be loved and taken good care of and live a perfectly long normal life here and in this household, ALL cat lives matter….

A big thank you to Ron for going to bat for Hemingway!

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