The Poke-y Little Kitty
Brooklyn resident Barbara Hersh was looking at cats at the ASPCA Adoption Center when she was surprised by a poke. She turned to find that the culprit was Jonah, an audacious black-and-white cat in a nearby habitat who had just sealed his fate. “Jonah picked me,” says Barbara. “Once I saw him, I fell in love.”
Barbara and her husband, Joel, brought Jonah home in June 2001, when he was just six months old. Since then, Jonah has made a lasting place for himself in the Hersh family and in Barbara’s heart. Says Barbara, “He’s the love of my life.”
Jonah was four years old when he developed a tumor in his right paw. A veterinarian removed the mass, but it proved to be cancerous, and Jonah had to undergo four weeks of radiation therapy. “All went well, and I thought everything would be okay,” Barbara recalls. “Unfortunately, five years later, the cancer reappeared.”
The recurrence was in Jonah’s back right leg. Vets concluded that they wouldn’t be able to save the limb, and in June 2009, Jonah’s leg was removed. Still, according to Barbara, the amputation hasn’t slowed down her resilient little guy one bit.
“He is a happy camper right now, and you would never know that he has only three legs,” she muses. “He hops around and, when he knows that I am going out shopping, he starts talking. You would think he was telling me either not to leave him, or, ‘Be careful outside and make sure you come back.’”
Barbara has lovingly cared for Jonah throughout his bouts with cancer, but recently, the tables were turned: When Joel suffered a stroke, Jonah was there to comfort Barbara during her husband’s recovery. “Jonah is a survivor—a joy in my life,” Barbara says. “Every day that he is with us is a sun-filled day.”
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