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Towson

Wiltondale neighborhood in Towson mourns the passing of a special cat

Anne Henslee, of Wiltondale, is a board member of Feline Rescue Association, specializing in fostering medically needy cats. In 2014, after the death of her beloved 19-year old rescue, Emma, Henslee decided to adopt again. She particularly wanted to help a cat with complex medical needs that might otherwise be destined for euthanasia.

“I found out about a 1-year-old brown tabby with a hematoma in both ears. This poor cat had been in a cage, suffering in isolation. His condition was getting progressively worse. We adopted him, sight unseen. Tommy needed three different surgeries to repair his crumpling, infected ears,” Henslee recalled.

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“He recovered like a champ, and then began escaping every time we’d open the door. We tried everything. He was determined to be an indoor-outdoor cat. We soon learned why. He had a schedule.

"Like clockwork, he would walk neighborhood children to school and back home after school. If someone had experienced a loss or was ill, Tommy would visit them. He was an exceptional cat.”

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Tommy had several homes, by choice, Henslee said.

“One of his adopted families was the Sealocks, a few houses from ours," she said. "Their three young boys adored Tommy, and the feeling was mutual.” Miriam Sealock recalled meeting Tommy several years ago, as he would sit and watch them do yard work. After their own elderly cat passed away, the Sealocks began inviting Tommy inside.

“He proceeded to make himself at home, sometimes for a short visit, other times to nap for most of the day or to spend the night. He had an especially strong bond with my husband. Once, my husband was out of town, and Tommy [after searching in vain for him] napped on a pile of his clothes.”

Neighbor Sue Ross recalled Tommy as “the most friendly cat. He’d stop and backtrack to say ‘hi’ from half a block away.” Ross was extremely fond of Tommy and also impressed that Henslee rescued him from the shelter “as the hardest luck case, and got so fortunate.” Tommy had endured such despair early in life, but went on to bring happiness to so many people.

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Catherine Mecchi is another neighbor who loved Tommy dearly. “Tommy would appear on our deck, looking into our kitchen. He would wait patiently for us to come out and pet him," she said.

"Sometimes he would slip in the house and then plop down on the kitchen floor and just chill.” Mecchi noted that Tommy would also cross Stevenson Lane to call on the elderly residents at Holly Hill.

“He would walk right in and make his rounds. My son said, ‘Tommy’s purpose on this Earth is to bring joy and comfort to others, and he knows who needs it the most.’”

Sadly, Tommy passed away in early February. “One night, I got a message from the Sealocks that Tommy seemed lethargic and was having trouble walking,” Henslee said. “My husband and I picked up Tommy and rushed to Pet ER.

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"We recalled that about a week prior he had possibly eaten a mouse he’d found in the yard. We told the vet. They put IVs in him and tried to flush his body with fluids. He had begun to vomit uncontrollably and lost use of his limbs. They were going to keep him overnight. The phone rang at 2:30 a.m. He was not going to live.”

The vet said Bromethalin, a rat poison, is what killed Tommy. Poisoned rodents are easy targets for wildlife or cats. Tommy’s symptoms took about a week to manifest. “It was a horrible, heart-breaking death.”

Henslee posted news of Tommy’s passing on Nextdoor, and soon hundreds of comments flooded in, illuminating how the “Mayor Cat of Wiltondale” was widely loved — and is sorely missed by many.


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