Jim Henderson is a Torrance-based “lawn doctor” who aerates and dethatches lawns. He’s also a cat lover. Some 18 years ago, the two interests came together.
“I went to this client’s house and I see cats scurrying all over the floor in the garage which has a lot of Amway stuff and boxes – all these cats running around,” he said. “There were 13 of ‘em. And I go in there and try to catch ‘em as fast as I can. I pick up a black one. Then I see this little critter running across with no eyes – his eyes aren’t even open yet. And I picked him up and put him in my pocket.”
Henderson took the tiny feline home, bottle fed him and nurtured him – and named him Critter. “I think he was a little retarded. He was a male cat who would not fight. All my other male cats were frisky. And this cat would let just anybody beat him up. He would lay down on the ground he wouldn’t fight back.”
But Critter had a wonderful disposition and the two became fast friends. “His attitude was so great and he was so lovable. He was a lover boy,” Henderson said.
A few years ago, however, Critter developed a mass on his right rear leg. Henderson took the cat to a veterinary hospital. “I kept taking him in because this tumor was growing on his leg. I don’t remember how much it was, 700 bucks or something like that to get that thing cut off. Did it three times, I think, and then finally [in January, 2012] the doctor said, ‘OK, we will have to cut it [the leg] off.’ And I was all upset. Everybody was saying: ‘Put the cat to sleep. Put the cat to sleep.’
“My business has not been good for a long time and I haven’t had the funds to take my cats to the vet like I used to. I used to be able to spend thousands of dollars on my cats and it wasn’t a problem. It was great for my heart. But right now it’s a problem: do I want to pay my rent or take my cat to the hospital?
The staff at Crenshaw Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic suggested seeking help from Angel Fund. And a grant was quickly arranged. The fund contributed $500 and so did the hospital.
After the surgery, Critter soon recovered. But he lived indoors and no longer spent much time outside, Henderson said. “He got around pretty good on three legs and then all of sudden one day he got real sick” and had to be put down. But the surgery – and Angel Fund – had added more than a year to his life.