I’m not crying, you’re crying.
family adopting Smokey Rose the cat
Credit: Courtesy of Ten Lives Club in Basdell NY

Scrolling through shelter websites and social accounts is a great way to find potential new pets to adopt. But one family in western New York found something even better: their lost cat Bugaboo, who'd been missing from their home for over a month. 

The 12-year-old cat was in bad shape when he showed up on Maryanne and Mike's property in Wilson, N.Y. in June. According to a Facebook post by Ten Lives Club, a non-profit cat adoption group dedicated to reducing cat euthanizations from overpopulated and crowded shelters, the elderly long-haired cat had severely matted fur and was dangerously thin when these Good Samaritans stepped in to help.

The couple drove the cat an hour away to Ten Lives Club's main shelter location in Blasdell, N.Y., where staff and veterinarians could help nurse him back to health. The shelter's veterinary team took swift action with vaccines and fluids, but say that without Maryanne and Mike's intervention, the cat likely wouldn't have survived.

Right Place, Right Time

After Smokey Rose's health had improved and the cat was cleared for adoption, the shelter shared his photo during their Empty the Shelters event, a time when adoption fees are reduced thanks to financial support from the BISSELL Pet Foundation. In an incredibly lucky turn of events, Mason Rounds just happened to be scrolling through social media when he spotted the shelter's photo of Smokey Rose.

The cat looked just like his family's cat, a fluffy feline named Bugaboo who'd gone missing several weeks prior. Rounds contacted the shelter directly on the photo, writing, "That's my cat, he's been missing for a month." Rounds added a few of his own pictures of Bugaboo that were taken before he'd gone missing.

Sure enough, it was a match. The earlier images Rounds posted showed a fluffy feline with a silky coat of black hair and a distinctive grey patch on his chest and tummy. The recent photo of the cat at the shelter looked a little worse for wear—but who wouldn't after wandering around outside for a month in warm summer temperatures?!

Rounds wrote that he'd be at the shelter the next morning to pick up Bugaboo. The adorable photo shared by the shelter when they were reunited is one of pure joy, with the family snuggling their kitty and smiling with excitement. And while he may have been allowed to roam outdoors before his big adventure gone awry, Bugaboo's family says he'll be an indoor-only cat from now on.

"It seems like all the stars were aligned," Kimberly LaRussa, public relations manager at Ten Lives Club tells Daily Paws. "Just seeing the happiness from Smokey Rose's family when they got their cat back, that was so rewarding."

It Takes a Village

LaRussa says this touching reunion was the product of multiple good deeds by many good people, from Maryanne and Mike to shelter staff and volunteers. But it's also in part to partners like the BISSELL Pet Foundation, which offers financial support to shelters like Ten Lives Club so they can pass along reduced rates to potential adopters during events like Empty the Shelters. Not only that, but LaRussa says the quarterly events help generate publicity around the importance of animal adoption. 

"It gives [adopters] the opportunity to see that there are so many animals in need of homes in the area and they are more likely to come out for that promotion," LaRussa says.

Since the beginning of this year, BISSELL has helped place 10,693 pets in forever homes and donated $794,580 in direct funding to the shelter partners. Over 5,900 of those dogs and cats were adopted during the last event from July 7-11.

LaRussa says Empty the Shelters helps bring the hard work of shelter staff and volunteers to life. "The staff members work hard to help these homeless animals, and that takes a lot of blood sweat and tears," she says. "But at the end of the day, when that animal finds their forever home, all of it was worth it."