A couple drove 2 hours to adopt a ‘depressed’ cat named Fishtopher after a tweet about him went viral. Now they want to use his popularity to help other animals at the shelter.
Fishtopher the “depressed” cat has gone viral after a Twitter user shared screenshots of his Petfinder profile.
A Baltimore couple told Insider they drove for two hours and waited in the cold to adopt him.
Now they’re using his popularity on social media to draw attention to other shelter animals.
Fishtoper the cat’s journey to his new home began with a tweet.
Thursday, the Twitter user @MollyClarke shared a screenshot from a Petfinder listing from the Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, New Jersey. The listing featured a photo of a big cat described as “very sad and depressed” and “in bad shape” at the shelter.
The tweet exploded over Thanksgiving, with 168,000 likes and over 21,000 retweets on Sunday. Social media users responded with encouragement and photos of their own rescue cats, hoping someone would adopt Fishtopher.
One of the people who saw the feline shot online was Laura Folts, a 22-year-old living in Baltimore, Maryland. Folts told Insider that she and her boyfriend, Tanner Callahan, 24, had already talked about adopting a pet, so she jokingly sent him the tweet on a whim. Little did she know, Callahan submitted a request — and soon received a response from the shelter.
The couple drove from Baltimore to Blackwood on Saturday, leaving around 8 a.m. and arriving at Homeward Bound around 10 a.m., an hour before the center opened. Folts knew others would come to meet Fishtopher, so they waited in the cold to be on the front lines. Their efforts paid off.
“I think a lot of people came to see it. And of the group of the first 10 people who were there at the opening, about eight or nine of them were there to see Fishtopher. And so they all got to see it. caress,” she said. “But we were the lucky ones to bring him home.”
Folts and Callahan said Homeward Bound told them they had received hundreds of inquiries about Fishtopher, some of which traveled from California and the United Arab Emirates.
After a car ride highlighted by a pit stop for cat food and cuddles, Fishtopher moved into Callahan’s house. The couple say that although they have created a few hiding places, they are adapting well to their new space.
Fishtopher tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus according to the couple, which the Cornell Feline Health Center describes as a common disease that attacks a cat’s immune system. According to the center, FIV affects between 2.5 and 5 percent of otherwise healthy cats in North America.
Despite his failing health, Fishtopher’s new owners say he’s a warm, affectionate animal who loves people.
Folts began documenting the cat’s new life with personal photos Twitterand in addition, created a Twitter and Instagram account in his name. Fisthtopher’s two social media accounts already had more than 13,000 followers as of Sunday, which Folts said shocked her.
“It’s really heartwarming to see how a lot of people are like, ‘You can tell how much happier he is,'” she said.
Now that Fishtopher has a platform, Folts and Callahan say they want to bring attention to other animals in need. Folts frequently retweets photos and lists of shelter animals, and she said she hopes people who have followed Fishtopher — and purchased items from a small wishlist — take notice.
“I really hope people keep the same energy for other cats just because he’s very unique in his looks,” she said. “But there are also other cats who are just as unique and special who need a home and also money… People wanted to send us money for food or just give us some money because we adopted him. And I’m just like, ‘No, don’t. Give it to other cats that don’t have a home right now.'”
Homeward Bound executive director Lysa Boston told Insider that the center is currently over capacity and she hopes others will be inspired by Fishtopher’s story.
“We are delighted with all the attention he has received and hope this will make people realize that we have so many wonderful cats and dogs to adopt who are so often overlooked,” she said.
Read the original Insider article