Willie the Invincible Cat

Our Cat Willie

Our Cat Willie

Whenever things get tough and I start to feel sorry for myself, I like to think of our cat Willie. He has suffered greatly since the day he was born and has many handicaps, yet he’s the happiest, most contently creature I know. Willie was bitten by his mama shortly after his birth, a tragic mistake that should have taken the little kitty’s life. His head was nearly severed, along with the muscles, tendons and ligaments that controlled his ability to blink, swallow and extend his limbs. When we thought he wouldn’t make it, we called him Gash, for obvious reasons. After nursing him back to health with a syringe and baby formula, we decided we better rename him, so we decided on Willis. As in Bruce Willis, because if the little guy was going to die, he was going to die hard. Saving his life was a labor of love. For weeks he had to be fed every few hours. Since he couldn’t swallow, we used a syringe to trickle warmed formula down his throat. We weighed him in a coffee filter atop an electronic postage scale, making sure he was gaining weight and feeding him more if he wasn’t. I still remember the day that he decided he would feed himself — he wrestled with me to get the syringe out of his mouth. That was the last day Willie needed help with eating. As he grew and became more active, his limitations became obvious to us.

  • His eyes were round instead of almond shaped, and the bottom lid closed upwards, rather than the upper lid closing downward when he blinked.
  • His back legs are much weaker than his front legs. His paws point outwards, the opposite of a pigeon-toed position for a person. Not sure what that means in cats, but it wasn’t normal.
  • He is probably blind or has very poor vision in his right eye.
  • To make up for the vision problems, his hearing is super sensitive.
  • He can’t jump, which turns out to be a good thing as far as our furniture is concerned.
  • His hind quarter area is overly sensitive. In fact, you could only really pet him near his head without him getting uncomfortable.
  • Most importantly, he couldn’t poop in the cat box. He could pee in the box, but that was it. Instead, he pooped outside the box or next to the commodes in our bathrooms.

We tried to keep him around his siblings as much as possible so that he would learn to do normal cat things, but Willie preferred hanging out around our dog Pookie. Pookie, a male Border collie cross, sensed that Willie wasn’t getting much mothering from his mama, so his maternal instinct kicked in and he tended to the kitten and showed him the ropes around the house. Ever since, Willie has thought he was a dog. When a stranger rings our doorbell, Willie is the first one there to check out the potential intruder.  When my daughter was playing inside a large moving box, Willie, thinking the box was eating her, attacked the box, trying to save her. (Also caught her leg by accident and gave her a nasty scratch — the screams could be heard for blocks and blocks.) If we have repairmen or delivery men around the house, he stays right by their sides as they work on repairs, bringing appliances into the house, setting up alarm systems, etc. Willie has always trusted us implicitly — he knows we will take care of him and never let anything harm him. That might be part of why he thinks he is invincible. When we moved into our current home, we found the place had fleas and poor Willie was covered with them.  Not a good thing for a cat who’s allergic to fleas. As we waited for medication to take effect, he let me gently comb him all over and pull up as many fleas as I could. He also let me give him a sponge bath on a cushy pillow; the medicated soap helped reduce the itching and swelling. Willie is 11 years old now and still going strong, still very independent. Through it all, Willie has never balked at a challenge, capitalized on his handicaps, or tried to get extra attention from us. In fact, Willie thinks he’s quite normal. More than normal, really. He’s super cat, ready to take on danger at a moment’s notice. If any being had a reason to feel sorry for itself, it would be Willie, and yet he knows he’s the luckiest cat on the planet and is completely content with life as he knows it. There’s a life lesson there somewhere, and yes, I get the message.

Update: Willie passed away on December 26, 2010, at ten and a half years old. He slipped away while in my arms, knowing to the very end just how much he was loved. 

  23 comments for “Willie the Invincible Cat

  1. May 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Hello and nice to meet you! We came from Twitter and found your blog! What a beautiful story of survival and love, it absolutely warms my heart. The challenges that Willie has gone through all his life definitely puts many things into perspective… and yet he is super-cat! What a humbling little creature! Thank you for sharing your story!
    Misa & Kitty Trio

  2. May 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Oh, my, poor little fellow! BAD momma kitty, to bite her own offspring so severely!
    We are so glad he found you to take care of him, and he has had so many good years in spite of his problems.
    GO WILLIE!! :-)

  3. Katie Cat
    May 2, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Hi hi hi hi Willie! Welcome to Twitter! You are a very lucky boy, and we are all looking forward to hearing from you. You are loved very much!


  4. Angie
    May 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Willie is lucky to have such a great family! Thank you for sharing his story.

  5. cheshirek
    May 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Wow! That’s an amazing story.

  6. SeattleP
    May 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Oh Willie your story is an inspiration. I’m so glad your family have been taking good care of you.

  7. Honeybell @Wildboutbirds
    May 3, 2010 at 7:20 am

    It is a pleasure to meet you Willie! You are so lucky to have such a nice family now. We look forward to tweeting with you! What a wonderful outcome from a tragic beginning~ purrs

  8. May 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Purrrrs to you Willie. You’re one super kitteh and you have very cool hoomans. ~^..^~

  9. May 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Thats a rilly amazing story abowt pore lil Willie, hez lucky to be saved in such a caring famly.

  10. May 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Hello Willie, it’s an honour to meet you, you are such a toughie and a total sweetheart. Humans could learn a lot from you and all you have been through. You are also very handsome.

    Your humans are brilliant for helping you get to where you are now, which is, I suspect, lord of the house!

    Whicky Wuudler

  11. May 4, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Hi Willie, it’s very nice to meet you. Whicky introduced you on the cat blogosphere. What a story, your very lucky to have found your mom and dad. Sometimes humans are wonderful, we like hearing about those kind.

  12. May 4, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Willie is awesome! It just goes to show that the only thing that can stop yoo from living yoor life to the full, is yoor own self. Willpower rules!

  13. May 4, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Willie, you are my hero!

  14. May 4, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Willie – what a brave outstanding cat you are – you are an example to mankind as well as kittykind. Your Mum and Dad are brilliant too for letting you achieve so much.

  15. May 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Wow! What an amazing cat you are. You are the real mancat. I heard about you on the CB nad had to comepover to say HI. But I am really amazed by your story and I am so blessed to meet you. You rock!

  16. May 4, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Willis we think you are our hero too.
    We also think your Mom is our hero as well.
    What an inspiring story and we are truly honored to have met you.


  17. May 4, 2010 at 10:40 am

    What an inspiring story of Willie and his amazing ability to enjoy life to the fullest extent he can. But some of the credit goes to those who have loved him all these years and made him feel invincible.

  18. May 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Goodness Willie! What an amazing kitty you are! And what wonderful humans you have adopted!

  19. May 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    OMC, you are an inspiration to us all! you are a very strong amazing kitty. Your humans amazing for taking such good care of you.

  20. May 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    What an amazing story!

    What a brave Kitty!

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Lea
    May 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I really loved your Williestory so I wrote about it too and pic out my favouritetext from your story. http://glowingstar.blogg.se/2010/may/saving-his-life-was-a-labor-of-love.html

  22. Smokey
    May 11, 2010 at 8:07 am

    I just love reading about Willie. What a little guy! (signed: Smokey8 fr Twitter)

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