Last year, we brought you the story of Eddie the Lilac Lion, a Siamese with an epic backstory that involved being rescued three times and picking up a whole litany of physical ailments before finding his forever home in upstate New York.
Now it turns out that Eddie has been busy helping out another kitty from his old shelter, Mid-Hudson Animal Aid.
The chap’s name is Archie, and he’s a formal feral who was living in the no-kill facility for a whopping 13 years before finally relocating to Chicago.
Here’s how Archie’s journey took place.
According to Eddie’s owner, Jennifer Sarah Blakeslee, over the holidays Mid-Hudson Animal Aid ran a sponsor-a-cat campaign and posted a pic of Archie. The caption mentioned that he’d been living there his whole life.
“This blew my mind,” says Blakeslee. “I decided to post Archie’s pic to Eddie’s Instagram account to see if I could find someone to adopt him. I didn’t think it would happen, to be honest, but I thought it was worth a shot.”
“I created Eddie’s account to help spread the message that special needs cats deserve love and attention and forever homes, but senior cats and feral cats can be just as difficult to adopt out, if not more so. And 13 years knowing nothing but a shelter …. It just seemed like a story that needed telling.”
Asked how Archie came to be stuck at the shelter for 13 years, Blakeslee explains, “Archie is a feral cat. He gets along fine with other cats — in fact he seeks out their company — but when it comes to humans, forget it. He’s terrified and runs away. This makes it very hard for potential adopters to see him, let alone meet him. And so he stays behind as buddy after buddy gets adopted.”
At this point in the story, Jennifer Baird came across Eddie’s post about Archie.
“Here I am in Chicago, and I’m watching and waiting for like two days for someone to step up and take him, and I will applaud the person all day,” she recalls.
“I read comment after comment about everyone wishing that he gets a home and sincerely my thought was, I want actions, not excuses. So, I reached out to Jennifer and said, ‘I’ll take him.'”
“I did not want one more day to go by with Archie not knowing what it was like to have a home.”
The only snag in the plan was that Baird needed help physically getting Archie to her home in Chicago. To that end, Blakeslee began a fundraiser to pay for SUV car rentals, gas, and an overnight hotel stay.
“I dubbed it Operation Bring Archie Home, and the post got shared soon after I posted it,” she says. “After that, it sort of went viral. We met our goal in less than an hour! In fact, people continued to donate afterwards, and we’ve ended up with $250 left over as a donation for the shelter.”
The plan to transport Archie involved two volunteers driving two-thirds of the way to a hotel in Toledo, Ohio, where they’d meet Baird, who’d then drive Archie back to his new home.
Once Archie had arrived at his new abode, he settled in quickly. “I had his room all set up for him so he could get acclimated to smells and the area,” says Baird. “Right away he was eating, drinking, using the litter box, and playing with toys. He was still scared at times and hid in one of the litter boxes, but that only lasted one day.”
Archie also met some of his new feline family, including Hershey and Kittan, who took an instant liking to their new roommate’s cardboard scratcher.
“I’m finding Archie in closer proximity to Hershey daily, and Hershey is letting it happen,” says Baird. “Hershey was a cat I took in off the street as a baby three and a half years ago. I thought he would be feral, but he has warmed up over the years.”
“I think being the youngest, we have the best chance of these two being fast friends!” she says.
Check out Archie’s human’s Instagram account to keep up to date with his progress in his new home.