Jennifer and her husband James live in Alberta, Canada. Jennifer was taking out their trash one day in May 2016 when she made a heartbreaking discovery in a backpack that she found in the garbage.
Once she began looking at the bag she noticed that there was actually something shifting around inside it. Then, upon getting into it, she found that it contained another bag that had been tied shut. Jennifer and James opened this second bag – and they were shocked by what they found inside it.
The source of the movement was in fact a cat. The kitty was in a very poor state and was rushed to Alberta Animal Services (AAS) – a shelter and care center – for emergency treatment.
Once there, the vets quickly realized that being shoved into a backpack was only the latest act of cruelty that the animal had suffered. In fact, the cat had been the victim of a great deal of abuse. The poor animal had been starved and repeatedly injured. Indeed, Erica Coomber, the director of AAS, wasn’t sure that he would survive.
The ginger cat was blind, had head injuries and a fractured pelvis and was beset by neurological issues. These injuries had been dealt out over a long period of time, and some were still fresh. To add to that, the cat was also malnourished and weak – and he had almost suffocated while he was trapped in a bag in the garbage.
But with care from the AAS, the little purring soldier strived on. Coomber told Today that despite the cruelty, “He loves everyone,” and that he sought affection from the staff at the animal care center. A post on the AAS Facebook page said, “As soon [as he] hears or sees the animal nurses he starts purring and demands cuddles.”
The staff at AAS soon named the cat Hiro, after a character from the hit TV series Heroes. And in true heroic style, Hiro fought for his life. The AAS Facebook page kept those eager to hear about Hiro’s health up-to-date every step of the way. Later in the year, Hiro’s sight seemed to begin to return and, despite his broken pelvis, he began to get up and walk. He was also finally able to shut his mouth and was eating happily – all of which contributed to the gradual return of his strength.
In June of the same year Hiro went for surgery on his broken hip. The AAS soon updated fans to let them know that Hiro was up and mobile. In the same month, he was deemed fit and healthy enough to go to a foster home for what remained of his recovery.
The couple who had initially found Hiro had made generous donations to the AAS for the cat’s medical treatment and care. When it was time for Hiro to be adopted, the husband and wife were hopeful that they could offer him a “Fur-ever” family.
However, Jennifer feared that another foster family might be the lucky ones to re-home Hiro. Thankfully the AAS had been impressed by the couple and appreciated their support for the cat’s medical care. The couple had visited the cat on numerous occasions and were dedicated to ensuring that he fully recovered in their care.
Erica Coomber took Hiro to the couple’s home and the cat quickly settled in. Jennifer and James soon set up a Facebook account for the cat. In an early post they announced on Hiro’s behalf, “I made it to my new home! So happy! Haven’t stopped purring.”
Hiro has since kept the name that the AAS staff gave him. Jennifer and James, meanwhile, have also given him a surname: Stanley. Hiro Stanley is named after Jennifer’s dad, who learned that he had blood cancer – and was told that he would die within two years.
However, like his cat namesake, Stanley is a fighter and, despite his diagnosis, he has now battled cancer for over 22 years. Jennifer believes that Hiro’s last name is fitting because her father and the cat are “both too stubborn” not to fight for their lives.
In his new adoptive home, Hiro has two feline companions to play with. His start in his new home was not without a little drama though. In fact, he would cry if his adoptive parents disappeared from view, and he needed stroking and comforting to get to sleep. He also had trouble once asleep, and frequently seemed to have nightmares. Jennifer told Today, “[It was] like he was trying to get out of a bag.” His adoptive parents were very patient with him, however, and “would gently comfort him to wake up so it would stop.”
The nightmares thankfully passed and he began to sleep soundly – Jennifer explained that he “seldom fusses and is not as wild.” And rather than constantly needing his humans’ attention, Hiro chose to cuddle up with his cat companions at night.
Unfortunately, the individual who was responsible for Hiro’s horrific abuse may never have to pay the price for their actions. Coomber said that the AAS had an idea of the perpetrator’s identity. However, they did not have the evidence that would be needed in order to prosecute them. She does, however, hold out hope that they will never repeat the horrifying treatment that they dealt out to Hiro.
Although Hiro may never receive justice, his story will help other animals on their road to finding their own forever family. To celebrate the anniversary of Hiro’s heroic the Alberta Animal Center held an adoption event in June 2017. The event, named “Super Hiro” starred the cat as the guest of honor.
Jennifer was thrilled to show off a now-healthy Hiro and to help other animals find new homes. In fact, she even made tiny superhero capes for all the cats up for adoption to wear to the event. Jennifer said, “As soon as Hiro was named, I believed it was perfect because of his relentless fight against the odds to win his battle to live. He really is a super Hiro. All heroes deserve a cape.”
Fans of Hiro can keep up-to-date with his life and health via his Facebook page. The cat’s owners post regular updates, pictures and videos showing how he is doing.
And the brave little cat is still thriving in his adoptive home over a year after his rescue. However, he is not so brave when it comes to getting his annual injections. Alongside a photo on his Facebook page, he says, “I heard Furmum got a notice for my annual shots in the mail, now I hide. Can’t believe it’s been well over a year since my rescue, I’m so lucky to be here.”