Henry the “Spirit Healer” Cat Helps People AND Pets

April 29, 2011

By Julia Williams

Last December I introduced you to a wonderful three-legged feline named Henry. This extraordinary kitty is a different kind of “Therapy Cat” than those who visit nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities, but his healing work is just as important, and has profoundly changed the lives of many.

I’m writing about Henry again today because his messages of hope, tolerance, resilience and love are too important to forget. Henry shares his story so that others can learn new things and overcome their traumas and tragedies; I want to share Henry’s story to help his healing work gain momentum and reach an even larger audience than it already has. (There’s one more exciting reason for this post, but you’ll have to read to the end to find out what it is!!).

Henry reaches out to help people of all ages through his website, Henrysworld.org, through personal correspondence and through his critically acclaimed books. “Henry’s World: a Three-Legged Cat’s View of Human Absurdity” is a heartwarming compilation of short tales by Henry about his life, along with hundreds of emails Henry has received and responded to. “What’s the Matter with Henry? The True Tale of a Three-Legged Cat,” was written for children but inspires young and old alike. A third book “What About Me? I’m Here Too!” addresses the emotional issues experienced by healthy siblings of chronically ill children.

Cathy Conheim, Henry’s Mom and self-described Cat Scribe, says “People speak to animals differently and more openly. Animals are our safe havens, an unending source of unconditional love and acceptance. Whether the animals are real, stuffed, or virtual, they become trusted confidants and helpers.” It’s largely for this reason that Henry has touched so many lives. Over the past six years, Henry has received over 50,000 letters from children – and from adults and critters too!

Henry was named the 2010 ASPCA Cat of the Year and more recently, created the “Ouch! Emotional Bandage” app for the iPhone and iPad. This app lets you personalize a blank bandage with a photo and message, or select one of the pre-made bandages. Then you simply e-mail it to people who care about you, as a way to let them know you are hurting and need some TLC. (Brilliant idea, Henry!).

Henry’s words of wisdom include: You aren’t defined by what happens to you; we don’t get to choose what happens to us in life, but we do get to choose how we respond; play the paw you are dealt and be the best “You” that you can be; remember to connect with those you care about. And the one that might be the most important lesson of all: just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something.

The healing messages are for people, but all profits from the sales of Henry’s books and other fun stuff on his site goes to help animals, as well as human children. Says Henry, “I try very hard to teach humans better ways to be and raise lots of dollars for animals. Any group anywhere in the world can buy my books at our printing cost for $8, sell them for $20 and keep the money locally for the animals in their area.” Henry’s books are not sold in a bookstore, because then there would be no profit for the animals or the children.

Says Cathy, “If we could inspire enough people to buy just ONE charming book about a rescued cat, this would create a lot of money for the animals! I think it would be a great story of the power of the internet, the power of healing…of animals helping animals. Henry and I don’t care how the money made is used as long as animals or kids benefit. Let’s say someone had a $1000 vet bill; if they sold 83 books they could pay the bill. People sell Girl Scout cookies by the zillion, fat and sugar, the drug of choice for kids. Why not sell something pawsitive and do good things with the money?”

Here are three simple ways you can help spread the word about Henry and his healing messages: 1) buy a book or two for someone you love; 2) tell others to check out Henry’s books and other cool stuff at Henrysworld.org; 3) if you know of a group who might want to buy Henry’s books as a fund-raising tool, please encourage them to get in touch with Henry.

Now for the exciting news – we’re giving away some of Henry’s books and other neat things to three lucky readers!! To participate, simply leave a comment stating that you want to be entered in the giveaway, and include either your email address or a link to your “contact me” info. Sorry, only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible to win, and entries must be received by May 6, 2011.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Pet Foods.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am searching for true stories of animals for my students to research and write about. Bingo, I found Henry! Please enter me in the giveaway so I have Henry’s books for my students for years to come. thelma4@comcast.net

  2. OH I must learn more about Henry’s therapy ideas! Please enter me in the give away. kicks66@hughes.net

  3. Bonnie says:

    oops. forgot my email address and i was logged in to the wrong account when i posted previously — email is dutch98bunny@gmail.com. thanks!

  4. I’ve had Henry as a FB friend but didn’t really know his story until just now. I have tweeted and will share on FB because i think what you and Henry do is simply wonderful. I would be thrilled to have a book 🙂 I definitely believe in the healing power of animals — it wouldn’t be worth getting out of bed most days without the animals in my world 🙂

  5. cstironkat says:

    My dog was a certified therapy dog before she retired, and I saw first hand what a difference these special pets can make in the lives they touch. Please enter me in your giveaway, I would love to read more about Henry.

  6. meowmeowmans says:

    Thanks for another great post, Julia! Therapy pets are wonderful, and we are glad to learn about Henry. We’d love to be entered in the drawing. You have my email address, right?

  7. Lilibeth Maclean says:

    I want to be entered into the giveaway. What a wonderful story! I love reading stories like these

  8. AngiH says:

    I would love to be entered into the giveaway. I have a child who has early onset bipolar, and I think the book “What About Me? I’m Here Too!” would really help my other two children.

  9. Henry sounds like an excellent Cat! We would love to enter the drawing.

    We’re at:


  10. What a smart cat! Will share and would love to win a copy of Henry’s book. Woofs and Wags, Bella the Boxer

  11. tweeted and posted it on both of my facebook pages!!! Super important post!!

  12. Marg says:

    We are all for Pet Therapy especially from cats. Those books look terrific. Please put us in the drawing. We will also give a shout out on our blog about this drawing. We are going to check out Henry’s website too.

  13. The Monkeys says:

    We thank you for reposting about Henry because we had never heard of him! He sounds like an incredible cat and we would love to enter the giveaway! We’re also going to check out his website.

  14. My mom and I are very much HOOOOOOGE believers in Pet Therapy. She actually had a Cat that she took to School.. when she taught mentally and physically challenged elem. students. THEY love him. HE caused one 5 year old to speak her FIRST WORD!!