As befits someone named Evander Holyfield, the winner in the cat category of DFW.com’s Model Pet of DFW 2014 is a fighter.
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Emily Agee and her now-fiance, Davy Wright, got Evander four years ago at a PetSmart adoption event. “We were about to walk past him when he suddenly stuck his paw out of his cage and tapped my fiance on the shoulder,” Agee says. “It was love at first sight for both of us.”
She was told that the cat was brought to the Humane Society of North Texas as a stray, and that he’d been attacked by something — it wasn’t clear what — and lost a piece of an ear. Hence the whimsical name, with its unspoken Mike Tyson allusion.
But it’s not all whimsy with this tough guy. Agee and Wright were told that Evander almost died from the attack. But he fought to come back.
He was pulled from the HSNT and taken to be treated.
“The first day that he came back to the shelter was the day that we went into PetSmart and adopted him,” Agee says. “We’ve had him ever since. He has this badass personality. He’s not scared of anyone or anything.”
Agee is more familiar with cats running under beds when a stranger comes knocking, but Evander — or “Vandy,” as Agee and Wright like to call him — likes to be in the center of the ring.
“I had a guy from ADT at our house the other day looking to put an alarm in, and Evander just sat on the table, looking at him,” Agee says. “He kind of runs the show. He does what he wants, and he’s not afraid of anything.”
Evander doesn’t really care for the family dog, Tiger (who was entered in the Model Pet dog category), but he usually won’t run away from him — he’ll just hiss or swat at him. For the dog, the feeling’s pretty mutual.
“The dog chases him sometimes, but they just kind of avoid each other for the most part,” Agee says.
But Evander has a soft side. Agee and Wright adopted a “cat sister,” Coco, for Evander when he was about a year old. Agee found her as a stray when she was only 4 weeks old, and had her doubts about bringing her home to full-grown Evander, who would even boss Agee’s parents’ cats around on their home turf in Oklahoma.
“[Davy] told me, ‘Just bring her, and we’ll see if it works, and if it doesn’t, surely we can find somebody to adopt her,’ ” Agee says. “I bring her in, and they sniff each other, and then they absolutely fall in love with each other. They snuggle together, and it’s weird, because this is the only other [animal] being he’s like that with.”
And Evander is nice to people, although Agee says he likes Wright best.
“I don’t know if it’s a guy thing or what. He sits in my fiance’s lap,” Agee says. “If we were both sitting on the couch, he would jump on my fiance’s lap. He likes me; he just likes my fiance better.”
Each of this year’s Model Pet grand-prize entrants won a $100 PetSmart gift card, and will receive a framed photo of their pet on the cover of DFW.com.