‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’: Why Is Whitney Way Thore’s Cat Named Henchi?

My Big Fat Fabulous Life is a TLC reality series about Whitney Way Thore. The show’s primary focus is the work Thore does surrounding polycystic ovarian syndrome and the body positivity movement. The reality series also features other aspects of Thore’s life — including her adorable pets. 

Many fans have a keen interest in Thore’s orange cat, Henchi. Find out why Thore gave her cat the unique name. 

Whitney Way Thore cat Henchi
Henchi | TLC

Whitney is an animal lover 

A big part of My Big Fat Fabulous Life is the people Thore chooses to surround herself with. That includes her pets! Thore is the proud owner of three cats named Henchi, Ollie, and Wanda. More recently, Thore added a dog to the mix. On Mar. 21, 2020, Thore adopted Caniche, a 3-year-old poodle. 

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As Thore explained in an Instagram caption, Caniche is not her first dog. “Contrary to popular belief, I have had two family dogs (one German Spitz and one Pomeranian) and one dog of my own (also a Pom),” she wrote, adding that she was afraid to have cats until she was 18-years-old. “Caniche is the first dog I’ve had in years, and she has been the easiest, sweetest thing.”

Henchi had a health scare in 2019 

As documented on My Big Fat Fabulous Life, Thore’s cat had a major health scare in December 2019. For a while, Thore was traveling back and forth between Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolina, balancing her multiple business endeavors and relationships with friends and family. When Thore went to and from, she would take her pets with her. All of the travel eventually took a toll on Henchi. 

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On the show, Thore opened up about finding Henchi in her closet, unresponsive and uninterested in eating. She immediately made Henchi an appointment with a vet in Charlotte. The vet’s first instinct was that Henchi had cancer. Devastated but not defeated, Thore agreed to have testing done. Fortunately, Henchi didn’t have cancer. 

After his health scare, Thore made the decision to move to Charlotte full time. This equated to a lot less travel for her and her furry friends. Over time, Henchi was able to destress and adjust to his new home. The 13-year-old cat is still doing well today. 

Henchi is a nickname 

It’s hard to say whether Thore truly has a favorite pet, but if she did, it would probably be her cat Henchi. The 13-year-old orange Persian has brought Thore so much fulfillment in life that she says she’ll get another cat just like him when he does eventually pass on. 

Thore’s cats Ollie and Wanda have more traditional names, but many fans are curious about where she got the idea for Henchi’s name. “Henchi’s name is actually a nickname for Henry Kimchi,” Thore explained to her fans in a Facebook Q&A. “I bought Henchi when I was in Korea, and Kimchi is the national food there. It’s orange, and so is Henchi, so his name actually comes from Henry Kimchi.”  

Where did Whitney’s other cat’s names come from?

Thore’s two other cats, Wanda and Ollie, are just as loved as Henchi. Wanda is a 3-year-old Himalayan, and Ollie is a 2-year-old Selkirk Rex. “[Wanda’s] full name is Wandaleezza Rice,” Thore explained to fans. “I named her Wanda after a character in one of my favorite movies. Wandaleezza just kind of came out,” she added, so it made sense to add Rice onto the end of her name!  

Originally, Ollie was a cat Thore adopted for her mom, Babs. When she wasn’t enthusiastic about keeping the curly-haired cat with thumbs, Thore took him in as her own.