A black and white cat, sleeping on a colorful rug

How a barn cat made a difference for Joey

December 27, 2022

Our pets always seem to understand when we need them. Their happy wags and contented purrs can help us escape stress and anxiety and bring light to our darkest days. But when 14-year-old Joey needed a friend to help him through his most difficult times, he never expected that friend would be an antisocial barn cat.

Arthur arrived at HSSW a stray - he was angry and fearful and any attempt by our staff and volunteers to socialize with him met with scratching and biting. And while many cats like Arthur can become loving family members, that kind of rehabilitation is very difficult in a shelter. The best option for Arthur was to find a home as a working cat – one where he could have an outdoor space and a family who would make sure he was safe and loved.

So when Julie called HSSW looking for a cat for her property, our team suggested Arthur. And a day later, Arthur was headed to his new home with Julie, her husband Harry, and their two sons Joey and Jaxon. In his new home, Arthur explored the property, patrolled the chicken coop, and while he occasionally tolerated some pats or playtime with his new family, he typically rewarded their attempts to socialize with hissing and scratching.

This routine carried on for weeks until one day when Arthur came inside and hopped up onto Joey’s lap. Joey was frozen in place awaiting the inevitable bites or scratches, but Arthur surprised him... the usually-combative cat lingered at Joey's lap for a moment before jumping down and going off to explore. For whatever unknown reason Arthur decided Joey deserved special treatment.

At a doctor’s visit a few days later, the family received devastating news: Joey was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The cancer was advanced, and treatment needed to start immediately.

Treating cancer is emotionally and physically exhausting. Infusions, medications, surgery, and endless visits to the hospital… Joey was fighting through his darkest days and his family was doing everything they could for him.

And through it all, Arthur was Joey’s constant companion. He greeted Joey when he returned from treatments, cuddled by his side while Joey played video games, or curled up on his chest for naps. Arthur knew he had a special job to do, and he was there for Joey every day.

Today, Joey’s cancer is in full remission. He is living the happy, normal life of a high-school student and Arthur is still his very special companion.

Arthur is just one of thousands of pets who find their second chance because of HSSW. And this story is truly a testament to the precious gift that animals are in our lives. Your donation today not only supports pets like Arthur, it also helps ensure families in our community will know the unconditional love of a pet. Give today and your gift will be doubled - making twice the impact for the people and pets in our community.

Donate >>

Learn more about Arthur and his transformative impact on Joey and his family in this emotional video.