While our cats are happy and safe, there are countless cats and kittens out there in this scary world that fall victim to abuse and neglect each day. For one handsome little fellow named Benny, his start in life was filled with heartache and sheer evil. But, thankfully for this resilient feline, he preserved and proved to anyone and everyone that he was a fighter. I caught up with his cat mom hoping to feature his heroic story, and she agreed to let me share his plight which has transformed into a much-deserved happy ending. He may have shaved off a few of his nine lives in the beginning, but his happiness is proof that the rest of those nine lives will be nothing but love and kindness.
Beverly shared with me the story of how Benny came into her life…
At the intersection of domestic violence and animal abuse, a 6-month-old kitten lived in fear, suffered in silence, and nearly died. This is the tale of a kitten’s injuries, which healed and were re-injured by former owners and how he was found, nurtured back from the brink by a volunteer staff and given to a new owner. The only reminders which remain are a crooked smile, a wonky walk, and permanent neurological damage, but thankfully, his spirit was unshattered and he persevered to become a playful, warm, and loving cat.
Watching my cat, Benny, one would not immediately know that this little kitten, so full of life, so full of energy, so full of being a playful kitten was brutally abused by the people he expected to provide a safe, loving home. In Benny’s previous life, he was slammed against a shower wall and left to starve, with a broken jaw and face, for 10 days. His owner kept silent about what he had done until the 5-year old son showed what happened to his grandmother, who immediately took the kitten and child to the local animal shelter. Animal abuse investigators spoke with the little boy, who stated that he saw his mother’s boyfriend abused the kitten. He also stated that the boyfriend likes to squeeze the kitten and hug him so tightly that it hurts. According to the 5-year old, when he told his mom, she said that her boyfriend just “loves hard”.
So, the battered kitten entered the animal shelter where staff and veterinarians worked to stabilize him and mend the fractured jaw so he could eat. He would need undergo additional medical care, evaluations, and surgeries, and act as evidence in in his own animal abuse investigation. One wonders how the case ultimately ended no charges or indictments against his abusers as there was “insufficient evidence to prosecute”. His abusers were the same people whom this cat depended on and expected protection, care and love. It may have been deemed not to have met a legal threshold, but this kitten’s body was evidence.
I met this amazingly resilient cat while he was being held as evidence and not available for adoption, but immediately fell in love when visiting the shelter and sought to adopt him. Once the evidence hold was up and the kitten’s owners “surrendered him to the shelter” (yes, legally, his abusers were still his owners and controlled his life even though they had an animal abuse case opened against them), this now 1+-year-old cat was able to come home with me!. Once I had this cat safely and happily at home with me, I renamed him Benny, a new name for a new life; a name that felt happy and fun, like this kitten.
How did he get his name?
Benny’s original name was Eli. Because he had an awful life with this name, I decided he needed a fun, happy name. I’ve been naming my recent cats in honor and memory of my Dad and his family, all who have passed, a Jewish tradition. I wanted to name him after my Aunt Blossom. So I used the first letter of Blossom. Thus, Benny!
What is his personality like?
Benny is so resilient. His little body was so damaged. But, the shelter staff said he was loving the attention and petting within just two days after receiving medical attention. And, now, even with arthritis and permanent physical and neurological injuries, he runs, jumps plays. He hasn’t let these injuries stop him from being a cat.
Benny loves people and attention from everyone. He enjoys strolls around the neighborhood and meeting people. He greets everyone at the door and demands attention and pets from them (even strangers). Benny is very loving and enjoys cuddles. He’s also very trusting. But, he is very stubborn and demanding, especially when he wants to eat. He yells at me if I’m late for meals.
What are his favorite hobbies?
Eating! He loves to play chase with his brother and our current military foster cat. He loves to sit outside in our enclosed garden, especially in the sun. He also likes to groom his brothers when they demand it. Strolls in his stroller around the neighborhood.
Does he have any cat or dog siblings at home?
Benny has an older brother, Manny that he loves; they get along great. He has a sister, Ruthie; but, Ruthie stays alone in my bedroom because she’s so scared of her brothers. Benny has never bothered. Currently, we have a temporary military foster cat, Hisenberg, through PACT for Animals. Oh my gosh, they love each other so much. I worry how Benny is going to react when Hisenberg is gone. He does laps in the house chasing the feather toy.
What’s something special you’d like for people to know about Benny?
Everyone who meets Benny and/or follows him on Instagram and Facebook, fall in love with him. they see his crooked smile and just know he’s special. Someone dubbed Benny “the ambassador of joy and hope”. He brings smiles around the world. Especially during the pandemic, followers stated that he helped them get through it; they looked forward to seeing Benny every day. He also spreads awareness of the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. I’ve even received messages asking for help or for resources.
Benny has raised amount $10,000 for the cat rescue that helped him (I’m now a board member because of the work Benny has done for them) and the local shelter that saved his life, through his in-person birthday parties/fundraiser and even virtual parties during the pandemic.
I want to give a special “thank you” to Beverly for allowing me to share Benny’s story and images with all of the Cattitude Daily readers. For more on Benny, be sure to check him out here on Facebook and on Instagram, too. I’m glad these two crossed paths because I think they’re a purrfect pair who rescued each other with love.
All Images Courtesy of Benny the Cat’s Justice on Facebook