The King has found his castle.
“I went to a diner for breakfast [June 8] and someone had left their Daily News behind,” explains Chris. “In the paper was a photo of this really handsome cat. I remembered seeing the earlier headline about him and thought the paper had been sitting around for a long time. I was sure the adoption was over. Then I saw the [paper’s publication] date and headed to the ASPCA.”
King, who suffered tissue injuries and bruising, was brought to the ASPCA’s Animal Hospital on May 7 by NYPD officers after being located and trapped by representatives of various animal welfare organizations, including the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
Chris, whose 20-year-old calico named Chandler had died six weeks earlier from cancer, had thought about getting another cat.
“I didn’t think I could replace her so soon, but I had a feeling when I saw King’s photograph,” he says. “He has a very expressive face—very bright-eyed. I liked him before I even met him.”
To Chris’ surprise, he was the first to arrive at the ASPCA and get the chance to interact with King. He met with Adi Hovav, a feline behavior counselor, who green-lighted the adoption after speaking at length with the life-long animal lover who has a soft spot for felines.
“I stayed up the whole night that first night—King needs a lot of engagement!” exclaims Chris, who works in the IT field, and often from home. “He acclimated right away after hiding for only an hour or so, and has been playing and exploring ever since. He’s a fun cat—and a bit of a tough guy. I suppose that’s how he survived.”
After first hearing King’s story, Chris was reluctant to watch the disturbing video (which immediately went viral) of King’s abuse, but did so after adopting him. “I felt like I had to witness what happened, he says. “That guy not only betrayed King’s trust, but what bothered me even more was that people were laughing. They should be held accountable, too.”
Despite his ordeal, King remains trusting and positive—“a real New Yorker,” according to Chris. King has taken to being held and is becoming more affectionate. “He was startled at first, but he now lets me hold him for short amounts of time,” Chris reports. The feisty feline also loves munching meatballs. “Maybe he’s part Italian?” Chris jokes.
As for King’s name, Chris says he thought about changing it to ‘Milo,’ “after the Greek strongman, or something macho. But he was already a minor celebrity, and I didn’t want to take that away from him.”
“I hope something good comes of this; maybe King can be a symbol of peace,” Chris adds. “I’ve seen the cruelty people can inflict on animals and I know he, like me, would want the laws stiffened.”
Chris promises to give King the best life he can. “I was amazed at how many people were involved in finding him and caring for him,” he says. “He’ll never suffer again. He’ll have a heated bed in the winter, the best food and medical care, all the toys he wants, and plenty of love and affection.”
In other words, a life fit for a king.