The paint on the brand-new RSPCA Canterbury shelter wasn’t even dry when the first cat came when it first opened its doors in 2012. What the crew didn’t realize at the time was that their first cat would also be the one who would never leave.
Norman was discovered in a backyard shed, unconscious and with horrific injuries to all four of his legs. He appeared to have been struck by a car and then dragged himself to the shed to attempt to cure his injuries. If he hadn’t been discovered when he was — and rushed to a vet right away — he would have had just hours to live.
In a news statement, Beth Hixson, manager of the RSPCA Canterbury shelter, said, “Our officer took him to a vet and, following emergency treatment, he was the first animal we welcomed to RSPCA Canterbury — and he’s been under our care ever since.”
Norman’s therapy and recuperation took months due to the severity of his injuries. He was already quite established and very pleased at the shelter by the time he was entirely recovered. Because the staff didn’t want him to go, they decided to make him their resident cat.
“After everything he’d been through, we couldn’t bear to part with him,” Hixson added.
Norman has since become something of a local celebrity, and he enjoys greeting everyone who walks through the shelter’s doors. He received the moniker “Norman the Doorman” because he enjoys sitting on the couch in the reception area to welcome guests and possible adopters.
Norman is the shelter’s de facto leader, and he even attends occasions when he is the focus of attention. He now has his own column in the local newspaper, reporting his latest exploits and shelter news, thanks to his growing popularity.
“Norman is a one-of-a-kind cat,” Hixson added. “He’s stunning, and he’s well aware of it!” Many people have offered to take him home, but he’s so content here that we don’t want to uproot him from all he knows and loves.”
Norman has said hello and goodbye to 1,332 other cats and a few other animals since the shelter opened. The shelter’s other two resident cats, sisters Betsy and Belinda, who are virtually Norman’s girlfriends, are the only cats he hasn’t had to say goodbye to.
“Betsy and Belinda were wild kittens when they came in, but they’ve settled in nicely,” Hixson added. “They’re also really pleasant, and one of them sits at our front desk, attempting to ‘assist’ our receptionist – though I’m not sure whether she’s more of a hindrance than a help!”