Greater Androscoggin Humane Society Executive Director Katie Lisnik holds Harlow at the Lewiston shelter in November where the cat was recovering after being abused by a teenager on Knox Street. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

LEWISTON — There’s good news all around for Harlow, the young cat who was swung by the tail and slammed to the ground last month in downtown Lewiston.

The cat’s badly damaged eye has been saved and Harlow has been adopted by a local family; a family that had previously been fostering the animal during his recovery.

“He is doing so well in his foster home — and already great friends with the other young cat in the home — that we have made the decision to let that family formally adopt him,” said Greater Androscoggin Humane Society Director Katie Lisnik.

Harlow was seriously injured Nov. 4 when a teenager swung the cat around by the tail before slamming it to the ground on Knox Street. A video of the abuse went viral, ultimately leading to the arrest of a 17-year-old who was charged with felony cruelty to animals.

The cat is a male believed to be less than a year old. It is black with white on its paws and around its neck.

In spite of the violence of the attack, the cat survived. A citizen brought it to the Animal Emergency Clinic where it was treated mainly for head injuries suffered when it was slammed on the ground.


The cat was later moved to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society on Strawberry Avenue where it quickly became a staff favorite. But Harlow required several surgeries and early in his treatment, it was feared that the cat would lose one eye that had been damaged in the attack.

“His eye was saved,” Lisnik said on Friday, “but will likely have some lasting vision loss, which his new family is well aware of and able to accommodate.”

The abuse of the cat, reported by several people who watched the video, was investigated by Lewiston police and Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout. Because the suspect is considered a minor, officials could release few details about the case against him.

News about the manner in which the cat was abused went viral during the early part of November. At the Humane Society, Lisnik said cases of flagrant abuse, like that which injured Harlow, are not common.

“Which makes it all the more shocking when it does happen,” she said. “But I think Mainers overall are incredibly compassionate with dogs, cats and other companion animals.”

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