For a little stray cat, life had been a torrent of bad luck and pain. When he took residence in an apartment complex, every door was shut on him, every foul word thrown at him, and every effort was made to avoid him. One man was different, though. Had this unfortunate cat finally found a friend?
Nicknamed “Ugly” by the residents of the apartment complex, the tomcat certainly wasn’t a pretty sight to behold. Misfortune had made its permanent mark on his malformed, skinny body. Considering his appearance, though, it was perhaps little wonder that the residents avoided him at all costs and advised their children to stay well away.
If it hadn’t been for his sores, Ugly would have grown into a striped, dark-grey tabby, yet his appearance had other stories to tell as well. For starters, the poor thing only had one eye. Standing in the place of the other eye was a stark, empty socket. He also had countless other injuries that are enough to make most onlookers squirm.
On the same side as his empty eye socket, for instance, Ugly was also missing an ear. In place of his tail, the cat only had a sorry looking stump that would frantically jerk around. Perhaps the most serious of his injuries was a mangled foot that had evidently been broken at one time but had then healed at a funny angle. And this made it difficult for Ugly to walk.
And it wasn’t just Ugly’s appearance that those who encountered him found off-putting. His general conduct didn’t always inspire the warmest affection in people, either. For example, with no one to look after him, he was always rummaging through garbage on the hunt for his next meal. So when people came across him, Ugly always seemed to face the same, devastating reaction.
Ugly’s looks and behavior naturally alienated him from any kind of love. The tomcat made some of those he encountered turn away in disgust, in fact. Children were warned to keep their distance, and people even went as far as throwing things at the poor animal. He was never greeted with open arms.
Instead, Ugly was always met with hostility. In an attempt to keep him away from their homes, some people would come out armed with hoses and try to scare the cat off by squirting water at him. If he attempted to go into their houses, they’d slam the door on him. But although he’d been hardened by a world that seemed to hate him, Ugly could nonetheless be a surprisingly loving creature.
Ugly never fought back against the cruelty he encountered, in fact. Instead, he took any opportunity to make a new friend. If people threw things at him, rather than hiss and snarl, he would approach their feet to beg for forgiveness. A softie at heart, he would always try and play with children by rubbing his head up against them.
Although he very rarely received them, Ugly loved cuddles. Whenever he was picked up, he would show his affection by curling up and nibbling pieces of clothing, jewelry – anything he could get his teeth on. And one man got to know Ugly’s weakness for a good cuddle very well, after he rushed to the tomcat’s aid in the animal’s hour of need.
One day, Ugly found himself in a hairy situation involving a group of huskies who lived in the same apartment complex. He seemingly just wanted to make friends with them, but the dogs started attacking him. Luckily, this man heard the commotion and did something previously unheard of: he stood up for Ugly.
“From my apartment, I could hear his screams. And I tried to rush to his aid,” the man recalled in a video posted to YouTube in March 2018. Rushing out, he feared that he might be too late. The man found Ugly in a terrible condition, lying in a pool of his own blood with his body twisted and mauled. Was Ugly’s savior too late?
It looked like Ugly was about to take his last breath. But the man refused to leave the cat in such a critical condition, so he lifted Ugly’s limp body. “As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping and could feel him struggling,” the man explained.
With Ugly clearly in so much pain, the neighbor was terrified that he’d made a mistake by picking up the cat. But thankfully he couldn’t have been more wrong. At the time, the man didn’t know that Ugly was an affectionate animal, so what happened next took him completely by surprise.
Amidst Ugly’s cries, the neighbor was shocked to feel a suckling on his ear. The cat had reached up to show the kind stranger some love and in return, the man made sure that Ugly could nestle his head against his hand. And in that tender moment, Ugly’s wails were replaced by a gentle purring. Finally, he had found some love.
The ragged creature’s plight for affection warmed the neighbor to the core. “At that moment, I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen,” the man recalled. “Never once did he try to bite or scratch me or even try to get away from me or struggle in any way.”
In that instant, the pair shared a special connection. “Ugly just looked up at me, completely trusting in me to relieve his pain,” the neighbor said. But unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to save the innocent cat. Ugly died in the neighbor’s arms before he reached his apartment.
Once back at his apartment, the neighbor wasn’t quite ready to let Ugly go, so he held the cat for a while. Holding the animal’s little body, the neighbor reflected on what had just happened, thinking about “how one scarred, deformed little stray cold so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly.”
Maybe for the first time in his life, Ugly had positively impacted upon someone’s life. In those fleeting moments, he had opened the neighbor’s eyes to the importance of selflessness and taking care of those in need. Speaking fondly about the departed tomcat, the man said, “Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful.”
As we’ve heard, this heartrending story was subsequently shared on YouTube and has since been viewed more than four million times, touching the hearts of many. Viewers were quick to criticize those who’d bullied Ugly, with one writing, “I really hate mean people. Damn this is so flipping sad.”
As for the neighbor, he will forever treasure the lessons that Ugly taught him. His encounter with the stray, although brief, forced him to appreciate the important things in life. “Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful,” he said. “But for me, I will always try to be Ugly.” He may have faced extreme hardship and pain, but Ugly finally found what he was looking for all along: love.