Toby the cat: What made the heartbreaking story of this NC shelter cat ‘go viral’?

This is an update on Toby the cat. He’s probably one of the most famous cats around the globe after his story went viral last week on social media. PoC covered the story on April 15 (opens in new window).

Adopted AND famous!
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

SPCA of Wake County (Raleigh, NC) took Toby in back in late February. He wasn’t up for adoption immediately since he needed to be neutered and was treated for an upper respiratory infection. Since this shelter is no-cage and no-kill (no cat is killed for space, Toby was loved until a forever home could be found.

Toby had originally showed up as a stray at the home of the family who took him in, then rehomed him to another family because he didn’t get along with their cats. Toby apparently decided he didn’t want to stay at his new home and made his way back the 12 miles to the area where he felt comfortable.

The family took him to Wake County Animal Center and asked that he be euthanized. That’s when SPCA of Wake County stepped in and is credited with saving the seven-year-old FIV positive cat. At first he didn’t get along with the other shelter cats but with continued affection Toby became a favorite of the volunteers.

The story of Toby being adopted on Friday the 13th went viral and his fame covered by many, many media sources around the world. Click here for a list.

According to the SPCA of Wake County website

“Toby’s new mom, Michele says her sister in New Hampshire saw a post by Beth Stern (Howard Stern’s wife and an animal rescue advocate) on Instagram about Toby. Michele says her sister called her and that she had no hesitation that Toby was meant to be hers. Toby now has two feline siblings and two human siblings.”

Toby with his new mom Michele

Toby’s new mom has started Team Toby in hopes of raising $5,000 to help other cats like Toby. Donations are also being accepted through the SPCA of Wake County’s Facebook page.

Please comment below on why you believe the story of Toby went viral. Was it the heartbreak this poor cat suffered after being given away and then being taken to the kill shelter to be killed instead of being welcomed back with open arms?

Or the distance Toby walked to return to an area he knew to the family he thought loved him? Twelve miles may not seem like a long way and many cats have returned from far greater distances, but it may have been a very long walk for a cat suffering from an upper respiratory infection.

Howard Stern’s wife, Beth, being an animal advocate and Toby’s new mom Michele may also have played a role in the story going viral, as it’s always good news when someone shares a cat in need and someone out there in the internet world is ready to step up to help.

It’s nice to know the social media community and the SPCA of Wake County all worked together to see Toby found a wonderful forever home.

Photos courtesy SPCA of Wake County

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “Toby the cat: What made the heartbreaking story of this NC shelter cat ‘go viral’?”

  1. God bless them. About a month ago I became an owner of a cat somebody was going to euthanize. I saw a desperate plea on Facebook from a guy whose neighbors were moving, and intended to have their two cats euthanized because the monsters couldn’t take them with them. He intervened, but could only save one, and was desperately looking for someone to take the other. I in turn pleaded for someone to step forward, and they did. But before I could get the new cat to this responsible lady, she fell and shattered her knee cap, so she could not take him. I decided he didn’t deserve to be shuttled around anymore, and he’s sitting on my bed right now. However, I have not told my friends because they feel I have too many cats as it is, six. Ah, life…

  2. I am so happy that Toby found his forever home. To answer your question, when I read your previous story about him, it was actually both reasons that broke my heart. Toby walked so far back to his old home, only to be given a death sentence. Double whammy. How could anyone do this? No compassion whatsoever. Blessings for a long, happy and healthy life in your new home, Toby. ???

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