Hank is a Maine Coon from Virginia who continues to inspire thousands across the country as he makes a bid for a senate seat this November. His bio indicates that Hank was “born to a single mother living on the streets,” and his entire family was taken to a shelter where they were almost put down. Thanks to the rescue group Animal Allies, he, along with his mother and siblings were all adopted. Atticus was inspired by Hank’s success, as he too was rescued from the streets and adopted into a loving home. He got the opportunity to speak with Hank recently about his senate race.
Hi Hank, thank you for talking to me. I’m a Maine Coon too – we may be cousins from way back! I just have a few questions for you; because I know how busy you must be, but I would just like to say that as a cat, and a Maine Coon, that I’m proud of the way you have been handling yourself. You are doing the whole cat community proud.
Atticus: Why did you decide to run for Senate?
Hank: Hi Atticus! Thanks so much for talking with me about my campaign and this exciting race! My main reason for running is to offer a real alternative to the people of Virginia without all of the rhetoric - I am solely focused on three main goals, which include job creation, spay & neuter programs and helping animal rescue groups, and bringing back civility and ownership to the political process.
Atticus: I appreciate the spay/neuter program agenda – how is that message being received by your constituents?
Hank: It’s quite clear that many people are supporting me for my spay/neuter agenda, and I find it’s a very important part of any community out there. Most people aren’t aware of how fast feral cats can breed when left on their own, especially since many ferals like to steer clear of humans. This year especially has seen an enormous population boom with the warm winter, and most importantly, without the local animal rescue groups, cats like me wouldn’t even be alive to talk about it today.
Atticus: I hear you are not accepting any campaign contributions but instead donating all funds to local rescues and shelters? What do you see as being the biggest needs in your community?
Hank: Our biggest need right now is to get help with the spaying & neutering program for the feral cat community. Many people, including vets, are wonderful enough to donate their time freely to help with this situation, but money is still a necessity to purchase the equipment and medicines for these procedures.
This leads directly into my third platform focus, which is to get politicians to be positive instead of always on the attack. Instead of taking the money in to my campaign, 100% is donated directly to animal rescue groups and spay & neuter programs. If each politician would donate just half of their funds towards causes near to their hearts, instead of towards negative attacks on their opponents, people in general would feel more positive about the candidates and what they stand for.
Atticus: All this campaigning must be cutting into your nap time. How are you going to stay fully rested all the way to November? And how do you deal with the stress of constantly being on the stump?
Hank: I won’t lie - it’s a long road to November, especially in cat years! I find it important to keep to a regular schedule - I play for 20 minutes or so each day with my campaign manager, get lots of rest, and have my regular 3 meals a day. I do get more treats when the reporters come by though, and I enjoy that!
It’s very important for us cats to keep to a regular schedule - having play time every day helps to keep the stress down, and also helps me keep fit, so I won’t become Washington’s newest fat cat come November.
Atticus: You’ve had your detractors such as the group, Canines for a Feline Free Tomorrow, who question your birth and vet records and whether a Maine Coon should be running in Virginia. Now, this to me seems like a typically canine response. What do you say to these dogs?
Hank: Actually, the canine response has been overwhelmingly in support of my campaign! I refuse to respond to the attacks on my character, as I do not believe in negative campaigning - but, you know how dogs can be - they get excited easy, and I think just a few bad dogs aren’t going to spoil anything for anyone.
Atticus: What would you say to kittens who have political aspirations?
Hank: I say this a lot to many of my feline friends out there who have contacted me with their support - It’s important to remember, even the smallest cat can change the world!
Atticus: We here in the Portland area are pretty big foodies, with a tendency to explore all facets of nutrition, including eating raw. I myself like the occasional raw treat. What do you like to eat?
Hank: My regular diet includes Venison & Green Pea, but for treats I really love cheese. Specifically, cheddar - the light flavored cheeses just don’t do it for me. I also like the occasional raw venison treat as well!
Atticus: Now, on a more personal note. I see that you came from the streets. So did I. It’s tough to be a Maine Coon out in the world, rough on the fur, hard to find enough food. What helped you survive those tough times, and how will that help you once in office?
Hank: It’s a very difficult life, and I’ll gladly admit it - I was scared. My mom raised us alone for the first 4 weeks of our life, and it’s not easy to have to watch 5 kids while trying to get enough food for yourself and your babies! We were picked up by an animal shelter, and were slated to be put down, but a local no-kill group rescued us at the last second, so we all found homes, including my mom.
During this time, I was able to really see how harsh and terrible the world can be for so many of us cats, and it was just the luck of the draw that I was saved from it. As far as how it’ll help me in office, I will not back down or shy away from my positions - after facing what we saw in that shelter, no politician or lobbyist will be able to silence or scare me into submission.
Atticus: How does your brother Sammy feel about all this attention? And how are the humans handling your success?
Hank: Sammy is the alpha of the family, so he can get a little jealous - but he also gets to sleep on a nice heated cat bed during the day while I’m working, so he doesn’t get too mad. As for my humans, they’re working hard on keeping up with all of the press and constituents - they finally have the t-shirts on my site for sale now, with 100% of the profits going to Animal Allies.
Hank: I was a rebellious teen, what can I say?
Atticus: Thanks so much for your time, Hank. I look forward to following your campaign this summer and wish you all the best come November.
Hank: Thanks so much Atticus, and thanks to all of your wonderful readers!
You can read more about Hank’s Senate run at HankForSenate.com or by following him on Facebook!
Today's Cat Fact: Morris the Cat ran for president in 1988 and 1992.