Internet Rallies Around Cat Who Spent 436 Days In A Shelter

By Travis Greenwood

Every cat has its day.

That's the heartwarming story out of Australia, where Champas, a 5-year-old kitty with a BIG personality and a HUGE heart, has finally found a new home after languishing in a Sydney shelter for more than a year — 436 days to be exact.

The striking pale-hued feline arrived at the Kemps Creek location of the Animal Welfare League NSW in December 2015.

According to Shannon Cochrane, a spokesperson with AWL NSW, "Champas was surrendered to by his previous owner... they were moving away from New South Wales and couldn't take him with them."

Because he was shy around people and animals, other cats and dogs were routinely adopted in front of him. (Cue the sad face emojis. 😞 😢 🙁 )

In an effort to socialize him, staff stationed Champas at the reception desk, where he dozed on paperwork and slowly grew more acclimated to humans. (In honor of his hard work and contributions, he was named Employee Of The Month in January.)

Australian cat Champas naps on paperwork
All your paperworks are belong to me
credit: Animal Welfare League NSW

When the team realized that he was coming up on his second Valentine's Day at AWL NSW, they built a social campaign around some hilarious pictures cheekily captioned in the style of a personal classified ad.

The faux-Valentine's Day cards caught the eye of BuzzFeed's Brad Esposito, who shared Champas' plight in a piece published last week.

That was followed by a second round of media reports, which triggered a spike in adoption enquiries from both near and far. In an email exchange, Cochrane revealed just how crazy things got (bolding and italics added for emphasis):

"After the [BuzzFeed] article we had emails from around the world. Many ... were from cat lovers in America, who wanted to give Champas a home, but unfortunately while we appreciate the support and interest, we are unable to do overseas adoptions. We even had a pet psychic from overseas contact us to tell us that Champas didn't like change, and that he had found his role in the universe as an office cat and would be happy to stay at the shelter.

Though we disagreed and felt that Champas needed a home, we loved the fact that someone was so inspired and touched by his story that they wanted to reach out to us."

The buzz had its desired effect: Three days after Esposito's post went live, a local "Sydneysider" and BuzzFeed reader named Nathan stepped forward to adopt Champas.

As Cochrane notes, "when [he] came into our shelter, we knew he was the purr-fect human for this spirited cat."

Even better, the two appear to be building an unbreakable bond (per the Facebook post embedded below).

While employees at the shelter were "sad ... to say goodbye to their office assistant", Cochrane reports that "they have found a new replacement — an energetic black and white cat named Salem, who has moved into the office enclosure and is already causing mischief. Salem also needs a home, so anyone Australians who are interested are welcome to get in touch ... "

"Here's hoping that Salem gets hired by a new human ASAP!"

To learn more about the work that Animal Welfare League NSW does, visit their website or make a donation.