Battered and broken down, a formerly stray orange tabby named Bruce Willis looks a lot older than his estimated six years. He has scars from defending himself from animals, chipped teeth, an old eye injury, and he tests positive for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). His healed eye is a little droopy, his one ear is a little cockeyed, and his scars leave his fur looking a little bedraggled. But despite all that, Bruce Willis (affectionately called Mr. Willis) has found his happy ending. He’s living peacefully with his favorite human who has proven beyond a doubt, that she will do anything to keep him safe—that includes convincing her landlord to make an exception to her apartment’s no-pet policy.
Mr. Willis’ rough-around-the-edges appearance is due to spending years on the streets struggling to survive. It’s hard to tell exactly how long he was a stray, but the sweet cat came to the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota in bad shape. He needed veterinary care and time to recover. But despite his checkered past, the sad-looking tabby quickly earned a reputation for being one of the friendliest felines in the shelter. The shelter wrote on Facebook,
Bruce is the sweetest and most affectionate boy around. All cheeks and love, he will brighten every day you spend with him.
Whenever someone got close, Mr. Willis would turn on his purr motor and beg to cuddle. He thrived on love and attention, and shelter staff knew he deserved a home as loving as he was. The problem was, his disheveled looks made him harder to get adopted. Every day, he would purr at potential adopters, but no one wanted to take him home. He never lost hope, but shelter staff knew he couldn’t wait forever. They started sharing his picture online in hopes of attracting the right person. In a matter of days, their strategy worked.
Sandra happened to see the shelter’s Facebook post about Mr. Willis on International Cat Day. She is a big fan of cats, but her apartment had a strict ‘no pets’ policy. Even still, she felt compelled to pay Mr. Willis a visit. She told LoveMeow,
When I saw his picture, it just spoke to my heart.
At the shelter, Mr. Willis did what he does best. He purred in Sandra’s arms and looked lovingly at her with his sad, sweet eyes. It was hard to leave, but her landlord’s pet policy stayed in her mind. She walked away after that first visit feeling heartbroken. She wished she could take Mr. Willis home, but she was hopeful someone else would come around and recognize the sweet soul in the former street cat.
Every day, Sandra couldn’t help but check the shelter’s website for updates. One day, she learned her favorite shelter cat was feeling down with an upper respiratory infection. She decided to visit him again to help him feel better. He was as loving as ever, and that second visit sparked something within Sandra. After that day, she went back to the shelter again and again. Mr. Willis greeted her with affection every time, and the two started to get to know each other.
After about a month, there were still no potential adopters. Mr. Willis had already spent so much of his life alone. Convinced that she and Mr. Willis were meant to be together, Sandra went to her landlord. She sent a picture and described the situation.
It took persuasion, but her plan worked! Her landlord agreed that a loving street cat in need of a home was worth bending the rules.
With her landlord’s permission, Sandra and Mr. Willis finally became a family. On his first night in his new home, Sandra says her new cat purred and cuddled as if he’d lived there his whole life. He follows her around the house and jumps in her lap every time she sits down. Mr. Willis is finally enjoying the good life, and his sweet face will be loved for the rest of his days.
See more adorable pictures of Mr. Willis on Instagram!
All images via Instagram/mrwillisthecat