- Fishtopher, the “depressed” cat, went 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 are using their popularity on social media to draw attention to other shelter animals.
Fishtoper cat’s journey to his new home began with a tweet.
On Thursday, Twitter user @MollyClarke shared a screenshot from a Petfinder list of Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, New Jersey. The listing included a photo of a large cat described as “very sad and depressed” and “out of it” at the shelter.
—Molly Clarke (@mollyaclarke) November 24, 2022
The tweet exploded over Thanksgiving, with 168,000 likes and more than 21,000 retweets as of 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 downed cat online was Laura Folts, a 22-year-old who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Folts told Insider that she and her boyfriend, Tanner Callahan, 24, previously talked about adopting a pet, so she jokingly sent him the tweet on a whim. Little did she know, Callahan submitted a request and quickly 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 that others would come to meet Fishtopher, so they waited in the cold to be the first in line. His efforts paid off.
“I think a lot of people came in wanting to see him. And out of the group of the first 10 people that were there at the open, about eight or nine of them were there to see Fishtopher. And they all got to pet him,” she said. “But we were the lucky ones to get him home.”
Folts and Callahan said Homeward Bound told them they received hundreds of inquiries about Fishtopher, some of which traveled from California and the United Arab Emirates.
After a drive highlighted by a pit stop for cat food and cuddles, Fishtopher moved into the Callahan house. The couple says that although he has created some hiding places for himself, he is adjusting well to his new space.
Fishtopher tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus according to the couple, who the 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 five percent of healthy cats in North America.
Despite his health problem, Fishtopher’s new owners say he is a warm and affectionate pet who loves people.
—heat miser 🔥 (@honkinn) November 26, 2022
Folts began documenting the cat’s new life with photos in his own Twitter pageand also created a Twitter Y instagram account in your name. Fisthtopher’s two social media accounts already have more than 13,000 followers as of Sunday, which Folts said surprised her.
“It’s been really moving to see so many people say, ‘You can tell how much happier he 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 listings of shelter animals, and said he hopes people who have kept up with Fishtopher, and purchased items from a small wish list, will take notice.
“I really hope people hold the same energy for other cats just because he has such a unique look,” she said. “But there are also other cats that are so unique and special that they need homes and also money…People wanted to send us money for food or just give us money because we adopted them. And I was like, ‘No, don’t. Give it to others. cats that don’t have a home right now.'”
Homeward Bound CEO Lysa Boston told Insider that the center is currently over capacity and hopes others will be inspired by Fishtopher’s story.
“We are delighted with all the attention it has received and hope it makes people realize that we have so many wonderful cats and dogs for adoption that are often overlooked,” he said.