A cat that has been in an Iowa shelter since 2013 finally has a chance at a forever home, and it’s all thanks to an internet post.
Now nine years old, Barney has spent his whole life at Emmet County Animal Shelter after coming into the shelter’s care with his litter mates.
“One of our original founders is also a [cat] colony caretaker and she had two very pregnant cats show up in her group. It was assumed that these girls were perhaps dropped off at her home knowing that they would be cared for. She took those girls in and set them up each in their own space to have their kittens. Barney was one of those kittens,” Kristy Henning, director of Emmet County Animal Shelter, told Newsweek.
But almost a decade later, Barney is still living at the shelter, and it’s no fault of his own.
Henning explained: “Although Barney is handsome, healthy, friendly and outgoing, so are 100+ others in our care,” she said. “It’s really a supply and demand issue in most Midwest and southern states. Our supply is often astronomical, and the demand for adopting a cat or kitten is quite low.”
However, it looks like things are about to turn around for Barney after he gained viral attention online.
Reddit user u/youcanttakemeserious posted a picture of Barney on the popular r/aww subreddit, and he has captured hearts.
With over 52,000 upvotes and more than 1,000 comments, his story left people in shock.
“How has this boy not been adopted?” asked stunned Reddit user UncleJulz.
Chameleonlukrs said: “Our sweet boy was born in the shelter, and never adopted till we took him home. He was 2 and a half, and I thought that was terrible. I hope Barney finds a forever home.”
“Someone give this gorgeous boy a home!!” pleaded Blueblur1.
“Barney is really just an all-around great cat. He would do wonderful in about any home setting,” said Henning, who revealed that since the Reddit post they had received numerous applications for Barney.
Sadly Barney isn’t the only cat to find himself spending the majority of his life in a shelter. Earlier this year there were tears when a cat that was “locked in a cage” for 12 years finally got a new home.
“We have been working on reviewing each of them, but we have chosen the family that we feel Barney would most enjoy,” said Henning. “They will be coming this Friday for an in person meet and greet to make sure that they have a good connection. If Barney decides to go home with them, he will have a senior dog as a buddy but will be the only cat in the home. We think he will adore being the center of all the cat affection.”
The shelter was founded in 2010 to meet what was becoming an increasing need in the small community. Starting in a garage that housed cats and kittens and with a handful of foster homes, Emmet County Animal Shelter has since grown to have its own building, multiple foster homes, community programs and plans to start a trap, neuter, release program in the community.
“Our mission is to rescue, rehab and rehome. We pride ourselves in caring for some of the smallest neonate kittens and puppies to the frailest of medical cases,” said Henning. “We are also a no kill shelter so an animal will never leave our care for space.”
Cats at the shelter aren’t left in cages either, instead they live in colony rooms with other cats of a similar age, activity level or personality.
Each room has a dedicated catio so they can lounge in a sunny spot and watch the world go by in the shelter’s bee and butterfly garden.
“Between the shelter and foster homes, we usually have about 130-150 cats and kittens at any given time,” Henning explained. “Late summer into fall is always our peak capacity due to what is usually an overwhelming kitten season.”
Now waiting to send Barney off to his first ever home after nine years at the shelter, Henning said they were thrilled by all the attention.
“We are astonished at the whole thing going viral and we are very grateful for the positive attention, not only for Barney but hopefully other cats in our shelter and perhaps other shelters all around,” she said. “We hope this spotlight will encourage others to take a look at the ones that have been overlooked in shelters across the country.”
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