Every cat is unique.
Every cat is unrepeatable.
But some cats fly their unique flag higher than heaven itself.
…and dipped in lyme sulfur stench for many, many, seemingly endless months of misery.
Henrietta arrived on our shores with what was arguably the single most relentless, intractable case of ringworm ever wormed. The endless, stankful treatment would be enough to make Mr. Rogers a ragemonster, but Hen had a running start in that area. Despite having lived in a home, she was very nearly feral, and not shy about savaging us.
Then there was her liver. Straight out of the gate, Henrietta had what the most prestigious scientists refer to as “one frickin’ wonky liver.” All signs pointed to fairly rare, certainly speedy, devastatingly devastating liver cancer.
And so, we had an angry black cat with a checkered past, a ringwormy present and a surely short future.
First, the black cat started spreading a strange silver bloom all over her coat. Within a matter of months, Hen had gone from a solid-black feline to one with a black head and feet…and a woolly, silver-grey body like nothing ever seen on earth. Science would suggest liver issues faded her fur, but we knew better.
Henrietta was, in fact, from another planet.
Ringworm was ultimately no match for her Martian might, and so Henrietta graduated into the general population. But make no mistake; there was never anything generaliz-able about one Henrietta Rosenberg. She may have lived in the Golden Girls Suite, but our silver girl was no sweet knitter. She may have buttered us up come dinnertime, but Henrietta was no huggable grandma.
You can hardly blame us for thinking she would always, endlessly be with us.
Hen battled her liver cancer for over three years. No one dreamed that she could thrive so long with such a dire diagnosis, a cancer mean and wild.
But, then, no one had ever met a cat like Henrietta before.
Hen thrived valiantly, elegantly even, delighting in life’s changes, from the revolving menu of mushy deliciousness to the recent relocation to the sun-soaked Community Room. A little ragged and a lot remarkable, Henrietta was exuberantly alive ’til the day she died.
True to form, Hen’s final fight came on fast and finished quietly. Late last week, Henrietta developed a bad upper respiratory infection that just wouldn’t quit. Days later, she was still dehydrated and weak, with a very low temperature. Antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids and heat support failed to offer her any comfort, and she was clearly not her feisty, fabulous self.
Felis Catus folks, you’ve been brave with Hen, fighting for her through your generosity and love all along. Her surprisingly long, exceptionally happy stay at Tabby’s Place is thanks largely to the love she received from all corners, whether or not she chose to return or acknowledge it.
But she knew. My heavens, she knew.
And somewhere far, far above the heavens, Henrietta knows more than we do even now.
Until we meet again, soot sprite.