Injured Kitten’s Resilient Personality Lands Him a New Home
When Dr. Kate Crecraft, a critical care specialist at Brooklyn’s Veterinary Emergency Referral Group (VERG), first set eyes on Henri (pronounced “On-Ree”), a six-week-old injured kitten, she couldn’t help but notice his sweet personality, which endured despite what appeared to be an act of cruelty.
“Kittens are often difficult patients,” says Dr. Crecraft. “They scream, wiggle and have no patience. But Henri wanted to be held.”
Henri had suffered a traumatic head injury after allegedly accidentally falling. The veterinary team named him after the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose genetic disorders and leg fractures as a teenager stunted his growth.
Henri remained at VERG for several days but was still on Dr. Crecraft’s mind long afterward. She and her husband, also a veterinarian, have a houseful of animals.
“All our pets have fallen into our laps,” says Dr. Crecraft.
Little Henri would prove to be no exception.
From Emergency Care to Foster Care
After Henri’s stay at VERG—a 24-hour ASPCA partner clinic that specializes in emergencies—he was transferred to the ASPCA for further treatment and healing.
“He stabilized quickly, and medication helped reduce his brain swelling,” says Dr. Karla Kovach, Medical Supervisor of the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center (ARC) who oversaw Henri’s care.
While at the ASPCA, Henri would often meow at the front of the cage and purr when people approached him, according to Ayleen Cruz, Feline Behavior Specialist.
“He leaned in for petting and remained relaxed when picked up and tolerated all handling,” says Ayleen.
“He really was the sweetest kitten ever,” says Dr. Mildred Camillo, another veterinarian at ARC and the Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment (CARE). “He recovered very nicely from his trauma, was neutered and was soon ready to say ‘Oui, Oui’ to finding a home.”
Dr. Crecraft and her husband offered to foster Henri two weeks into his stay at ARC.
“He got along well with the rest of our crew,” says Dr. Crecraft, referring to her family’s 15-year-old pit bull, Griswald, and a 14-year-old cat named Billy Bob Pickle.
“We kept Henri in the bathroom at first, but one day, everyone just stopped caring. The transition went better than we expected.”
New Name, New Home
On September 24, Dr. Crecraft and her husband adopted Henri, whom they re-named Toaster McStrudle Pants.
“I’m a firm believer that cats take themselves too seriously,” Dr. Crecraft says. “The new name takes him down a notch. But he doesn’t mind. He loves everybody.”
While Toaster’s name and home underwent serious makeovers, his personality didn’t change at all.
“He’s spunky and demands attention,” says Dr. Crecraft. “He gets the zoomies a lot. At five months, he’s turning into a teenager. But he’s still very sweet.”
“A Good Fit”
Sadly, Griswald passed away before Henri’s adoption became official, but the kitten still has a companion —if not a mentor—in the much older Billy Bob Pickle.
“The old guy rolls his eyes at Toaster,” says Dr. Crecraft, “But Toaster doesn’t care.”
Dr. Crecraft says that fostering Toaster was a positive experience.
“We knew we wanted to expand our household even though we had an obligation to our older animals,” she says. “Fostering provides a better life for the animals, and, for us, it was a good way to discover that Toaster was a good fit.”