Archie was just a tiny tabby kitten when he arrived at Mid Hudson Animal Aid, a no-kill shelter in Beacon, New York.
Over the course of 13 years, he grew up and lived at the shelter without ever finding a family of his own. So, he found a purpose in helping other shelter cats find their fur-ever homes.
He befriended other shelter cats and socialized many litters of kittens, watching them leave for their new families.
However, everything changed when a volunteer Jennifer Blakeslee found out that Archie had spent his entire life at the shelter. She shared his photo on Instagram, saying:
“I had no idea. See, he’s very feral. He does fine with other cats, but is terrified of people, which vastly reduces the likelihood of him getting adopted.”
Blakeslee had recently adopted one of Archie’s furry friends, a deaf and toothless, half-blind Siamese cat named Eddie. That made Archie very lonely and depressed.
Upon seeing him in that state, Blakeslee was determined to find Archie his own home and bring joy into his life.
As it was Christmas time, Blakeslee thought that the best thing to do for Archie was to help Eddie write a letter to Santa Claus and share it on social media. Fortunately, it went viral, and here’s what was written in that letter:
“Dear Santa, I’d like you to meet Archie. He was my best friend when I was at the shelter that saved my life… He’s been at the shelter for THIRTEEN YEARS, ever since he was a kitten. That’s a human’s entire time in school, plus kindergarten. He’s very shy, but he’s also very sweet and gets along with other cats. And he really, really, really wants to find his forever home. And that’s what I want for Christmas, Santa.”
After this letter was posted, the picture of furry friends Archie and Eddie got hundreds of shares, reaching people across the nation, including Chicago resident Jennifer Baird. She said:
“Archie socialized the majority of kitties at the shelter but was never chosen for a home. It broke my heart. I saw that he was in New York and waited a day or so for someone to speak up as I live in Chicago.”
As Archie’s photo went viral and people started getting interested in him, Baird knew she had to do something, so she said:
“That’s when I responded to Jennifer and said I’ll take him. I’m in Chicago. I need help in getting him here to me.”
Baird is a huge cat-lover who has rescued numerous abandoned cats, so the fact that Archie was feral didn’t bother her. She said:
“I have had feral cats and have a great understanding of their needs and embrace that.”
The shelter successfully planned Archie’s transportation to Chicago, but the only problem was the cost of the transport.
That’s when Blakeslee set up a YouCaring campaign, setting a goal of raising $750, and she shared it on Instagram with the hashtag #OperationBringArchieHome. She said:
“It got shared like mad, and we met our goal in less than an hour. In fact, people kept donating, and as a result, we’ll be able to donate $250 to the shelter.”
Blakeslee kept posting updates on Archie’s transportation until he safely arrived at his new home. After a few days of being in a new home, Baird said that Archie started making progress in adjusting to her and other rescue cats. She said:
“I see that he wants to be friends with his new sisters and brother so badly, and I know this will happen over time. Everyone is getting adjusted, and right now we have time on our side.”
Archie got out of his shell and transformed into a lovely kitty. He’s not depressed or shy anymore, and he loves spending time in his new cozy cat bed. Baird said:
“Archie is like my other feral. They want their love and affection to come from their siblings — not humans. He has to develop trust, and I want him to know that this relationship is about his safety and creature comforts — not about me having an affectionate kitty.”
Baird couldn’t be happier with how everything went. She’s grateful to the kind people who donated the money for Archie’s transportation and to Jennifer who stood up and told Archie’s story. She said:
“She’s the hero. Without her, Archie’s life may as well have ended in the shelter where it began.
Everyone hopes that this heartwarming story will inspire other people to adopt shelter cats, especially those that are often overlooked!