Anna was at FACE Low -Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic near her home in Indianapolis, Indiana, waiting to get her sister’s dog his annual vaccines, when she decided to pass the time by checking out the pets the organization had available for adoption.
“Since they are not actually a shelter, they only rescue and adopt out primarily special needs dogs and cats, or animals that came to them in special circumstances,” explains Anna. As she was sitting in the lobby of the clinic in January 2018, flipping through the book of available pets, a handsome tabby and white cat named Harvey caught her eye.
Intrigued, Anna read Harvey’s story and learned that when he was rescued from the streets, he was malnourished, riddled with fleas and tapeworms, had a broken jaw, and was desperately in need of medical attention. “Because his jaw was so badly broken, part of it and some of his teeth had to be removed in order for it to heal,” explains Anna, “so his tongue always sticks out of his mouth.”
Instantly, Anna felt a connection with the adorably different cat, and she was certain she would be able to provide Harvey — who was born in May 2016 — with the loving home he deserved. “Immediately, he pulled at my heart,” says Anna, “and I knew I had to adopt him.”
Anna’s adoption application was approved, and a few days later, she returned to the clinic to meet Harvey in person. “I felt like i was waiting for a blind date, worried about if he’d like me or not,” remembers Anna.
After meeting Harvey and his foster mom for the first time in an exam room at the animal hospital, Anna was confident he was meant to be a part of her family. “He walked around the room exploring, and I immediately fell in love with him,” says Anna, and after asking a few questions about his health, she officially adopted Harvey.
Given what Harvey had already experienced in his young life — “We actually don’t know for sure what happened to Harvey’s jaw, whether it was from abuse or an attack,” says Anna — his new mom was prepared to give him lots of time to get accustomed to his new environment, but this handsome tabby and white boy didn’t waste a moment making himself right at home.
“I let him out of the crate in my room and immediately he walked around like he’d been there forever,” says Anna. “He even jumped up into my lap and sat down to groom himself! He’s been my little buddy ever since.”
While Harvey was left seemingly unscathed by emotional scars as a result of the injuries he sustained, he still has some physical challenges that he has had to overcome. “He has to eat wet food because he’s not able to chew very well,” says Anna, “but he eats wet food just fine, and snacks on some dry food sometimes, too.”
Also, because Harvey’s tongue is always hanging out, he has a tendency to drool a lot, a habit his mom doesn’t consider to be much of a problem. “Sometimes it drips on things like my food or my phone or my face,” says Anna, “but that’s not an issue, just a little quirk he has.”
Harvey — who will celebrate his second birthday next month — is a very active and playful young cat who enjoys chasing after Anna’s other kitties, playing with string, staring out the window, and climbing anywhere and everywhere he wants to go. “Harvey is like a toddler: into everything all the time,” explains Anna. “He’s still in his kitten stage.” While this handsome tabby and white boy loves to play, Harvey also enjoys cuddling with his mom and taking naps in her lap.
While Harvey doesn’t look like a typical cat, his mom insists that he — and special little kitties like him — really aren’t that different from the average feline. “I wish more people would consider adopting a special needs cat because most of the time, they aren’t as much ‘work’ as you would think,” says Anna. “They’re just as sweet, friendly, playful, and loving as any other cat.”
Not surprisingly, Harvey — who constantly attracts attention due to his unique face — gets a lot of sympathy, especially when people learn what his life was like before he was rescued. “People immediately feel sorry for him when they look at him,” says Anna, “but I don’t think Harvey even notices he’s different.”
Anna hopes that by sharing Harvey’s story, people will realize that special needs cat need homes and families, not pity and sympathy. “Every cat deserves a loving home, regardless of what they look like,” says Anna. “You wouldn’t want someone to judge you based off of your appearance, and yet so many people judge cats based off of theirs.”
While it was Harvey’s unique appearance that attracted Anna’s attention, and his sad story that made her want to adopt him, she fell in love with him because of his personality, the blend of playfulness, confidence, and sweetness that makes him truly one of a kind. “From the moment I brought him home, I felt like we had been best friends for years,” says Anna. “Harvey means the world to me.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you follow Harvey Instagram.