Louisiana Cat Shelter Mascot Celebrates Her 26th Birthday

The cat that inspired the creation of the Hobo Hotel has outlived her rescuer, and she's still busy helping the shelter that saved her life.

JaneA Kelley  |  Mar 27th 2012


Ten years ago, Carol Cain rescued a cat from the streets of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Cain dubbed the former alley cat Hobo and went on about her business of quietly helping homeless cats.

Since then, what began as a small group of volunteers and a little hut for outside cats has expanded into a much larger operation. The little rescue soon became Hobo Hotel Spankey Halfway House for Cats and Kittens (a name now shortened to Hobo Hotel for Cats), a nonprofit, no-kill shelter and grew into Cain’s trailer. From there, the shelter moved into a storage facility, and now the Hobo Hotel has its own building.

Cain died in 2010, but Hobo Hotel lives on. And so does the shelter’s namesake, Hobo, who recently celebrated her 26th birthday.

A 26-year-old cat is the equivalent of a 121-year-old human. I only hope I’m doing as well as Hobo if I live to be 121!

Hobo, being a wise and kind cat, requested that people bring gifts for all the shelter cats rather than for her. A table filled with cat food, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, treats, and toys is a testament to the community’s love for their quarter-century-old feline.

As her human fans enjoyed sweets and treats, Hobo basked in the adoration and willingly accepted petting and love from all the party’s guests.

She’s a bit creaky these days, walking with small, tentative steps, but despite having gone blind two years ago, she still gets around and enjoys daily supervised excursions on the shelter’s lawn to eat her favorite treat — grass.

Collie Rouyer, Hobo’s caretaker, attributes the cat’s longevity to her attitude and a steady stream of good food. Hobo “is really laid back. If a cat paws at her it doesn’t bother her,” she said. “She also has a healthy diet. She likes tuna and crawfish.”

Robin Anderson of Hobo Hotel says this is the only no-kill shelter in the area. The organization also helps with low-cost spay/neuter procedures, and every cat that leaves the shelter is spayed or neutered, microchipped, and up to date on vaccinations. They do all this work through the generosity of donors and volunteers.

Congratulations, Hobo, on 26 wonderful years, and for being the inspiration for a shelter that has found good homes for more than 1,000 cats in its 10 years of existence.

KPLC-TV has a wonderful video story about Hobo’s party, which you can watch here.

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