Ugly the Tom Cat

Morning Story and Dilbert

Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and, shall we say, love.

The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been, there was a hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side. His left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, and even his shoulders. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. “That’s one UGLY cat!!!”

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same reaction.

If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness.

Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s dogs. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly’s sad life was almost at an end.

As I picked him up and tried to carry him home, I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. It must be hurting him terribly, I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear. Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying, was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring.

Even in the greatest pain, that ugly, battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion. At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly.

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. He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply — to give my total to those I care for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well-liked and beautiful — except for me. I will always try to be Ugly.

Author Unknown 
Please comment if you know the author so credit can be awarded.
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26 comments
  1. Thanks, Kenny T! We all need to strive to be Ugly! God bless you … have a great week! 🙂

      • Thank you for sharing!!! I wish everybody could read about Ugly… Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

        • Blessings to you as well, Kenny. May we all learn to embrace the “uglies” and receive revelation of God’s limitless love to us regardless of how we look. Debra

  2. I have a sweet friend who has five cats. She treasures them but does not really pamper them. One of them is quite ill and at the vets today. So this story was particularly touching today. It would not be fitting to share it with her right now. It touched my heart though.

  3. We had our own version of Ugly, a stray tomcat that needed love. Long story short, we adopted him, neutered him (not sure he appreciated that) and gave him a home. He rewarded us with about two years of unconditional love. His name was Charlie, and he was beautiful to us. Great story, Kenny!

    • Thanks for the comment!! I wonder how many “Charlie” stories are out there??? I have one with a stray cat named Sam who we later found out should have been named Samantha!!!! LOL That’s right three kittens…. Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  4. Debbie said:

    This just about brought me to tears, but what a message. God loves even our ugliness.

  5. David said:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful piece

  6. djgorena said:

    What a great story! It just goes to show us that God is willing to show us how to live even in the simplest of all creatures…even ugly creatures. Thanks for sharing this story.

  7. kiwiskan said:

    I love animals, and your story just about broke my heart!

  8. Tears-crocodile tears… He only wanted to be loved–he would take anything even pain to have attention. Think of all of the people who are lonely, suffering, in pain just wanting attention and love. I know what it is like. I know Ugly. We should all now see others in a different light.

  9. Thanks for sharing! It’s amazing how we sometimes strangers (be they people or animals) based on outer appearance. But we must remember Hebrews 13:2 – Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. It sounds like Ugly was an angel. God bless you! – Rachel

  10. Thank you so much for such a wonderful story. I don’t think I will ever forget this one. A cat named “Ugly”. That’s something one could never forget.

  11. Tony said:

    I’ve read this story before and have a stay now that I feed. And he, like ugly, is very affectionate and at times will cry outside my door to be petted.

  12. “I will always try to be Ugly.” What a powerful lesson from an alley cat! Thank you, Kenny.

  13. The sad part of this story is that this cat got the love he’d been begging for so long a little bit too late. Surely someone could have adopted him in spite of his apparent ugliness. Someone could have cared to defend him against the cruelty of others. But that shouldn’t surprise us. Don’t we look the other way when people are bullied, neglected, humiliated every day around us? We should feel ashamed and repent of our indifference towards people and animals, both of which are part of God’s creation.

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