Meet Hershey!

Name: Hershey (aka “Hersh”, “Hersheycat”, “Hershey Handsome”, “Hershicus”, “Pal o’Mine”)

Breed: Havana Brown mix

Likes: I am an indiscriminate, food-obsessed “foodie”. If it is food, my determination knows no bounds. I’ll climb to the top of the fridge to dig open a box of Cheerios, figure out how to open the kitchen cabinet to find kitty treats, or learn to open the bedroom dresser drawers, should you deign to hide kitty treats there. I have never left a morsel of food untouched–good to the last drop is my motto. Also, what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine, too, if I can distract you! I was the first of the Fab Four in my household to learn what “are you ready for breakfast/lunch/dinner” meant. I escort my owner to where the catfood cans are and watch him, to make sure he’s getting our meal. But I’m very good-natured, meaning I never cry or complain before he feeds us; I sit patiently near him until he utters that magic phrase, and then I dash downstairs to the kitchen.

I also love playing games, almost doesn’t matter what the game is. I can run and run after spongeballs, and I’ll even retrieve them, sometimes. I play ping-pong soccer in the bathtub (I taught Snowby and Little Hersh how to play it, too!). I love showing my dexterity with Cat Dancer. Wrestling is my favorite activity with the other cats. I taught Snowby, who was unsocialized, what wrestling was all about, though she still pretends not to like it. Blizzy, on the other hand, also had no clue, but he took to it like a fish to water, so we wrestle several times a day. He’s almost too good now. And Little Hersh (another Havana Brown mix and my adopted little brother) adores wrestling with me.

I’m very social–I want both human and feline contact. It’s de rigeur as part of my daily activities to hop onto my owner’s lap at least five times a day–preferably ten–and have him hold me or pet me, all over but especially under the chin. I trill all day long, whenever I enter a room, to let you know I’m there, but also to tell you I’m in a good mood–for I am always in a good mood! Last but not least, as you can see from the photo, I love to start my mornings with a good session flipping and flopping in the sink. He shaves, and I flip and flop. Oh, I almost forgot, but I just have to mention–I take great delight in stealing hamburger rolls from my owner when he has them on a plate in front of him. You might have thought after I’d done it four or five times he’d catch on, but I’m one resourceful cat! And finally, I just love to curl up tucked under my owner’s right arm when we go to sleep each night. So much so that sometimes I just have to give his face a bath at 3 am!

What’s Mine Is Mine. What’s Yours Is Negotiable.

Dislikes: You may think I’m pulling your leg, but there’s hardly anything I don’t like. All right, I don’t want my nails to be trimmed, but if you insist, I’ll tolerate it. The only time I will give out a plaintive cry is if my owner is trying to prepare his meal, and he makes me get off the kitchen counters. Oh, I let him know he’s being mean, by uttering the most pitiable sound. But then I hop down, ever so reluctantly. Oh, yes, I absolutely do not like closed doors, if I am left alone in a room. That was only necessary my first two days in my new home, after which I made it clear I wanted run of the house. And I’ve had it ever since.

About Hershey: While I am not a boastful cat, my owner says I am extraordinary, all the more so considering the dire circumstances that I have overcome. I don’t know too much about my first 18 months, but I can tell you that on New Year’s eve at the end of 2009, I was living on the street near a restaurant in Philadelphia, and as the story is told, I was found by a kind stranger bleeding with lacerations from head to toe and emaciated, weighing about four pounds. Maybe I’d climbed onto a car engine for warmth and the car started–not sure. Whatever happened, a stranger took me to a kind rescue agency in Philadelphia, and they sent me immediately to an emergency animal hospital, where they shaved my right side from head to tail. Fortunately, there were no broken bones, but cuts all over, an upper and lower canine tooth were broken, and I was a mess. I convalesced for a month in a kind foster home, and then, on Super Bowl Sunday shortly after a blizzard, I was put up for adoption. I got three expressions of interest that first day, probably since there are not a lot of Havana Brown rescue cats in the US, like only 35 of us out of over 100,000 cats offered for adoption on Anyway, my new owner drove 2-3/4 hours to see me, and another 2-3/4 hours on the way back, then did it again three weeks later to take me to my new home. I remained totally silent the entire trip home, except I cried briefly halfway there when I had a little accident. Otherwise, not a peep from me the whole time. I just knew something good was going to come of it.

I am exceedingly good-tempered, all the more remarkable given my background, and also extremely curious. I was so happy to have a new, warm home, and I could not wait to explore. I loved my new owner from the first day and wanted to spend as much time as possible either on his lap or at least in the same room. When I discovered two other cats in the house, Snowball and Blizzy, I couldn’t wait to meet them. Except Snowball didn’t want to meet me, as she wasn’t socialized. And she hated Blizzy already, after only a few weeks. She pretended to hate me, too, at first. Well, I get along with everyone, so it was my job to win over Snowby. So what if there were two baby gates blocking the bedroom–there was a four-inch space at the top, so I learned to climb up there, hoist myself over and then jump the six feet into the bedroom. As I said, I’m determined–even when food is not involved! Hershey the Fearless, Hershey the Bold. And sure enough, after several weeks Snowby learned to tolerate me (my owner helped a little, too), and now we get along just fine. Blizzy and I hit it off after 20 minutes, so I taught him how to wrestle the first day we met, and we became good friends, at least until he was no longer a kitten and we weren’t sure who was in charge. We still have fun a few times a day, though now I have to keep my distance when he wants to show me he is as strong as I am. Little Hersh is my little brother, or at least he acts like I’m his role model, so I have to live up to his expectations and teach him my tricks of the trade.

In short, I just love people and other cats, I love to play, I love to hang out wherever my owner is, I love to explore, I love life itself, considering 18 months ago they didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m a larger than life guy, is what it is. My attitude is, make the most of things. And lead by example. So that’s me in a nutshell!