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Meet Mister Bruce Willis. Not the hard-edged badass one we used to see on the big screen, but this one is definitely a fighter, too. Mister Willis is a cat who started his story as “the saddest cat.” He looked as if the struggles of being a stray cat roaming the streets for years were written in his eyes. It took him years to finally find a loving owner—Sandra, who, ironically, also had to go through quite a few obstacles to bring him home.

6-year-old Mister Willis had significant health issues: scars, an eye injury, chipped teeth, tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, and eventually caught a few infections at the shelter. Despite his rough looks and unfortunate fate, he was “the sweetest and the most affectionate boy around,” but he couldn’t find a family who was willing to take care of him. Sandra saw a post from Animal Humane Society in Minnesota about Mister Willis on International Cat Day, and her heart dropped. Sandra had no intentions of getting a furry friend, especially when pets were not allowed according to her lease, but she couldn’t leave him and kept visiting him regularly at the shelter in hopes he’d find his human. After a month, she was able to convince the landlord that Mister Willis deserved a loving home. He was perfect because of his imperfections.

In just a year with Sandra, the orange tabby changed unrecognizably—he went from the “saddest” to the “happiest” cat, who is now warming hearts on Instagram with 94.4k followers.

Check out Mister Willis’ full story below!

Bruce Willis was wandering the streets for years until at around 6 years old, he was rescued by the local humane society

He had battle scars, an eye injury, chipped teeth, and was FIV positive, which led to catching a cold and upper respiratory infection at the shelter

But the most heartbreaking thing about him was the saddest look in his eyes

The weeks passed by and he was still at the shelter, so they labeled him as a “forget me not”

Until one day, Sandra, who had no intentions of getting a cat, saw him in an Instagram post and her heart sank

“I saw Mister Willis the first time in a post that the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota uploaded in August last year. There was something about his eyes that just spoke to me. He looked so sad. I knew I couldn’t do anything about it since my lease didn’t allow pets and I was also not planning on getting a cat. Even so, I had to go and visit him. He looked even sadder in real life and I had to leave after only a couple of minutes because it was so heartbreaking. For some reason, I kept going back to visit him. He is FIV positive, which isn’t a big deal, but since he was at an animal shelter with lots of other pets, he got an upper respiratory infection. He was really sick for a while. I hoped that someone would adopt him, but he was still there, week after week,” Sandra told.

She convinced her landlord with a “no pets” rule that Mister Willis was worth making an exception, and their lives changed forever

“Eventually, I decided to ask my landlord for permission to get him, and I was really surprised when I was granted an exception. I brought him home the following day. He went from being the saddest cat to the happiest cat I’ve seen in only a couple of hours. He purred all night long and wouldn’t leave my side.”

The first night at home, he wouldn’t stop purring

“Mister Willis is FIV positive. It stands for feline immunodeficiency virus and it’s not as scary as it sounds. It basically means that he has a weaker immune system than ‘normal’ cats. When I first got him, he had a cold, ear infection, and eye infection that he got at the shelter. It was a little harder for him to fight it off because he’s FIV but he eventually did, and right now, I can’t notice his disease at all. I’m just making sure I’m doing what I can to keep him happy and healthy.”

It’s been a year since Mister Willis found his furrever home, and he’s transformed unrecognizably

“I’ve had him for a year now and we’ve had our ups and downs. He was very sick for a while and we had to go to the vet all the time. Luckily, he was able to fight off all the infections and today, he’s a happy and healthy cat.”


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