ASPCA Happy Tails: Fifth Time's the Charm!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 2:00pm
Grey and white cat laying on desk

While we believe that every animal deserves a home, the truth is that not every home is right for every animal. Such was the case with Gus, a fussy fat-cat who was adopted and returned four times for myriad health and behavioral issues. But we never give up on an animal, and sure enough, the fifth time was the charm for this 16-pound stunner. Here is the Happy Tail of Gus and his new mom, Emily.

At 10 years old, Gus is a handful. Over the years, he’s been diagnosed with a skin condition, an irreversible ear infection, and Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease. But beyond his medical needs, Gus has some behavioral issues that have proven too much for past adopters.  Though he is smart enough to use a litter box, he has “accidents” about once every day. Adopters tried using multiple litter boxes, cat attraction sprays, and even a variety of houseplants, but he just continued going on rugs, shoes, in hidden corners, and often, right next to his box. Despite all this, we knew that Gus had a lot of love to give—he was just waiting for the right person to give it to. That’s when Emily came along.

grey and white cat with green eyes“I knew he would be a challenging cat before I committed,” says Emily, who was informed of Gus’ issues at the ASPCA Adoption Center. She recalls the day they met: “There was something about his unusually expressive ‘human’ face that kept bringing me back to him.  He jumped down and got onto the nearest stool. He looked me dead in the eye and swatted an unattended pen off the stool and onto the floor. That’s when I knew he had to come home with me.”

Charmed by Gus’ moxie, Emily adopted Gus that very same day. Though she had been instructed to slowly introduce Gus to her other cat, Billy, Emily says that “Gus immediately decided that wasn’t his style.” He made himself right at home, and was eager to explore everything in the apartment. Billy acted out a bit at first, but Gus soon won him over. “Two days after the adoption, I came home to find that Gus had figured out how to open up the recycling bin and get at the empty food can inside. Apparently that trick had Billy in total awe, so since then, Gus has been Billy’s “cool big brother.” He’s even conned Billy into playing the lookout while he raids the lower cupboards for dry food.”

As time went on, Emily handled Gus’ litter box issues with patience and kindness. Though it’s still a work in progress, she says that he’s shown steady improvement. “Training a 10-year-old animal is an uphill battle, but no one is giving up! He requires extra attention, but he’s worth it.” Though he’s a troublemaker, Emily says she can’t help but love “Gus’ swagger, his odd glare, and his one perpetually floppy ear.”

We are so glad that Gus has found the perfect fit.  And how do we know Emily is perfect? She says, “I think I’d resign myself to mopping Gus’ “accident spot” in the hallway every single day before bringing him back to the shelter.” If that’s not true love, then we don’t know what is.

Do you have a Happy Tail you’d like to share? Email [email protected] and we might feature it on the blog!

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There have been some truly great and inspiring and eye-opening "happy tails" on this site. I have my personal list of favorites and this one is going right on the list. Huge thank you to devoted, patient and kind Emily and her floppy-eared Gus. He is a gorgeous cat and, yes, he really does have an expressive face. I can't imagine them apart. Fantastic adoption story. Gus has such a loving, safe, wonderful home.

P.S. When I adopted one of my cats, I was told that she had been brought back twice from previous adoptions. Behavior issues. I thank my lucky stars that she was returned, because now she is with me -- and I adore and cherish her, little quirks and all. We have a great and happy life together.


I applaud you, Emily! I had my precious Julius for 13 years before he succumbed to renal failure. Since he was a kitten he has had litter issues. People told me to get rid of him. That was NEVER an option. As mad and frustrated as I got, I knew I could never give him up. Dealing with the situation with empathy, compassion, and kindness is the best way for both you and your beloved pet.


Mitzi, I am so sorry for the loss of your cherished Julius. I can hear the sadness in your voice. I bet you and Julius had a special and beautiful life together.


Aw, this is amazing story. Love happy endings.


So glad he has found his niche. He is so handsome and there is something so very intriguing about him when you look at those eyes and his expression. Although he may be challenging, he will make his new mom and "kitty brother" very happy.


I adore that floppy ear! I've had 2 similar sassy cats that though incredibly frustrating at times, I wouldn't have traded for the world. Both are gone now, but I always think of them with such great joy & the stories I love the most are the ones where they were at their naughtiest! You're very lucky to have found each other Emily & Gus!


Our dog has accidents, and little leaks, and she's still my best friend and if the house smells a little funky at times, so be it! Gus is a beauty. I'm glad he and Billy are buds.

Hurray for Emily


Such a great boy - handsome, and full of personality. I'm glad you worked with this guy to bring him along. Thanks for the nice story to lighten my day.


Emily, you are a girl after my own heart. I have had similar situations with my cat Barney and my dog Ralphy as he aged. My husband and I just asked ourselves, what is more important a perfect carpet and sofa or our "kids?" Easy answer: "our kids." So, my house will never be in Architectural Digest but our "kids" have a safe and loving home and they make our lives very happy indeed.


Actually, apples have been never ever my favourite fruit, in reality, I'm not considerably of the fruit lover. Apples are balanced so I consume them on occasion. The trendy models of apples might be sweet or search interesting, nevertheless they in many cases are tasteless or chalky from being in storage far too very long. But I do appreciate consuming excellent cider and calvados.