- Fishtopher the “depressed” cat has gone viral after a Twitter user shared screenshots of his Petfinder profile.
- A Baltimore couple told Insider they drove two hours and waited in the cold to adopt him.
- Now they’re using his social media popularity to draw attention to other animals at the shelter.
Fishtoper the cat’s journey to his new home began with a tweet.
Thursday, Twitter user @MollyClarke shared a screenshot of a list of Petfinders from Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, New Jersey. The listing contained a photo of a large cat described as “very sad and depressed” and “in a bad mood” at the shelter.
—Molly Clarke (@mollyaclarke) November 24, 2022
The tweet exploded over Thanksgiving, with 168,000 likes and over 21,000 retweets as of Sunday. Social media users responded with encouragement and pictures of their own rescue cats, hoping someone would adopt Fishtopher.
One of the people who saw the downed feline online was Laura Folts, a 22-year-old who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Folts told Insider that she and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Tanner Callahan, had previously talked about adopting a pet, so she jokingly tweeted him on a whim. Little did she know that Callahan submitted an application and was quickly answered by the shelter.
The pair drove from Baltimore to Blackwood on Saturday, departing around 8:00 a.m. and arriving at Homeward Bound around 10:00 a.m., an hour before the center opened. Folts knew others would come to meet Fishtopher, so they waited in the cold to be first in line. Their efforts paid off.
“I think a lot of people came in wanting to see it. And of the first 10 people that were there at the opening, about eight or nine of them were there to see Fishtopher. And so they got to pet him,” she said. “But we were lucky to bring it home.”
Folts and Callahan said Homeward Bound told them it had received hundreds of inquiries about Fishtopher, some traveling from California and the United Arab Emirates.
After a car ride highlighted by a stop for cat food and cuddles, Fishtopher moved into Callahan’s house. The couple say that although he’s made some hiding places for himself, he’s adapting well to his 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 2.5 to 5 percent of otherwise healthy cats in North America.
Despite his health, Fishtopher’s new owners say he’s a warm and loving pet who loves people.
—stingy with heat🔥 (@honkinn) November 26, 2022
Folts began documenting the cat’s new life with personal photos Twitter pageand also, created a Chirping and an Instagram account in his name. Both of Fisthtopher’s social media accounts already have more than 13,000 followers as of Sunday, which Folts says came as a shock to her.
“It was really touching how a lot of people say, ‘You could tell how much happier she is,'” she said.
Now that Fishtopher has a platform, Folts and Callahan say they want to draw attention to other animals in need. Folts frequently retweets photos and lists of shelter animals, and said he hopes people who have kept up with Fishtopher—and bought him items from a small wish list—will take notice.
“I really hope people hold that same energy for other cats just because he’s so unique in his looks,” she said. “But there are also other cats that are just as unique and special that need a home and need money too…People wanted to send us money for food or just give us money because we adopted him. And I’m like, ‘Nope. , don’t. Give it to other cats that don’t have a home right now.'”
Homeward Bound executive director Lysa Boston told Insider the center is currently over capacity and she hopes others may be inspired by Fishtopher’s story.
“We are thrilled with all the attention it has received and hope it makes people realize that we have so many wonderful cats and dogs up for adoption that are so often overlooked,” she said.
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