ASPCA Happy Tails: The Life of O’Reilly

December 23, 2014

When Thomas H. was suffering from trauma and depression, his doctor suggested that a pet might help. Thomas agreed to look into it, but little did he know that a tiny kitten named Jonny would do more than provide comfort—he would change Thomas’s life forever. Here is their very Happy Tail of hope, healing and new beginnings.

Jonny arrived at the ASPCA in May when he was barely four weeks old. It was the height of kitten season, and Jonny, along with seven other siblings, was transferred from Animal Care & Control of NYC. Weighing only eight ounces at the time, he was put on a strict feeding schedule and received round-the-clock care from staff at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. By early August, he was strong, healthy, and ready to begin his search for a forever home.

While all of this was happening, Thomas had taken his doctor’s advice to heart. Not content to just pick out a pet willy-nilly, he prepared for his visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center by reading books on feline science and behavior. He was determined to not only heal his own emotional wounds, but to give some lucky kitten the best life possible, too. On August 20, he was finally ready to take that step: he went to the ASPCA and adopted Jonny.

Back at home, Thomas changed Jonny’s name to O’Reilly, and over the next few weeks the teeny kitty settled in. He explored every nook and cranny of Thomas’s apartment and discovered that he loves to spend his days basking in the sun. But the feline’s connection with his new adopter went deeper than a happy home—O’Reilly proved to be just what the doctor ordered.


“O’Reilly has been of such assistance to me,” says Thomas. “He began as a therapy animal, and I cannot express how much he has been transformative.” As their bond grew, O’Reilly and Thomas helped each other more and more. “My spells of depression are lifted when he wants to play (which is often). His peace is my peace, where I previously had none,” he says.

It’s been four months since this duo found each other, and their bond is already unbreakable. “O’Reilly is now my reference point for a present outlook on life,” Thomas beams. “He is often either curled by my chest or is present on call. His return is immeasurable.”

We are so happy that this tiny street kitten has found such a loving home. Thomas says, “O’Reilly has given me meaning, belongingness and calm.” He adds, “I thank you all at the ASPCA for giving me this comfort,” but we are the ones who want to thank him for giving little O’Reilly the best life imaginable.