Cat Culture

Star Cat Winner: Joe the Cat

Love conquers all—and unites a community in its rally against animal cruelty

“Joe, regardless of what he has been through, is the nicest, most affectionate cat I have ever had. He doesn’t let the fact that he only has one eye get in his way at all. He does everything a regular cat can do—but he does it with a purr!”

The beginning of Joe’s story is marked by unimaginable cruelty, but thankfully that is not the entirety of it. We pick this story up right as it’s about to turn around…

It was a bitterly cold winter day when a Sarnia, Ontario local returning from Sunday church found Joe on the side of the road. Seeing movement, the Good Samaritan pulled over. It was immediately apparent that Joe had been shot numerous times in the head with a pellet gun and that he needed immediate medical attention.

Joe was taken to the Sarnia & District Humane Society then transferred to Blue Cross Veterinary for treatment. Miraculously, he made a full recovery, save for the loss of one eye.

It was at this point that forces were at work to land Joe in his perfect forever home. The Sarnia Humane Society was hoping to keep Joe as a shelter pet so Shannon Jacques, who works for the Society, took Joe home to socialize him with dogs, a necessity for a shelter pet. Joe had other ideas though. “He fit in so well at my house that I decided to keep him forever!” Shannon says. 

Amazingly, Joe hasn’t let his past mar his future. “He’s an incredibly happy guy, and the loss of his one eye hasn’t affected his ability to live a happy, full life just like any other cat,” Shannon shares. “He’s a perfect example of how resilient animals can be. How wonderful is it that a creature that has been through so much was able to forgive and accept love and affection without hesitation?”

Though Joe has completely moved on, his experience has definitely left its mark on his community in a positive and powerful way. 

“The support for Joe was an amazing thing to witness. Our community really came together to care for this little guy,” says Shannon. 

Unfortunately, Joe is just one of many cases of animal cruelty that the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) sees on a daily basis. “It’s difficult to come to terms with, but Joe has really shone a bright light on the matter,” Shannon notes. “Since then, in our small community, people are more aware of the issue of animal cruelty, and are much more likely to report something that they think might be wrong.” 

Joe’s case even went before the courts, however, no guilty verdict was reached. This disappointing outcome, however, is not what those involved in Joe’s rescue focus on. As Alissa Scarpelli Assistant Manager, Sarnia & District Humane Society says, “the awareness and education that Joe brought to our community is an amazing feat in itself!”

The Warm Fuzzies
Why not foster a cat like Joe? 

“Fostering is wonderful and so rewarding,” Shannon enthuses. “The fact that you get to play a pivotal role in an animal’s journey to their forever home is an absolutely incredible thing. It’s such a great way to give back to your community and animals.”

The other upside? Fostering opens up space within the organization you’re fostering for, allowing them to help more cats! Why not reach out to your local shelter or rescue group and inquire if they’re in need of fosters?

Thanks to our awesome Star Cat Contest sponsor Feliway!

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