Over the years, we’ve united thousands of people with pets: couples with kittens, retirees with a dog, roommates with cats, you name it. But through all the various adoptions, one thing has always been clear: there is no one way to define a family. In today’s Happy Tail, we check in on two cats from very different backgrounds who ended up in one loving home. Here is the story of Chester and Elsa.
Chester and Elsa both came to the ASPCA in September, 2014, but that’s about as far as their similarities go. Elsa was transferred from the local city shelter (NYCACC) and at three years old, the little grey lady was confident, friendly and eager to find a home. Four-year-old Chester, on the other hand, had overcome a more difficult past. Abandoned in the Bronx, New York, Chester sustained physical trauma before being rescued by the ASPCA. He had to have his right eye removed, a laceration on his left hind leg repaired and a neuter surgery performed before he was ready to be adopted. Fortunately for both cats, Christina B. and her husband, Jim, came to the ASPCA Adoption Center at just the right moment.
“When our beloved rescue Persian passed away this summer, we were devastated,” Christina recalls. “We didn’t think we would adopt again so soon, but our home felt empty without a cat and we really wanted to rescue another animal.” She and Jim came to the ASPCA on October 1, about one month after both Chester and Elsa had arrived.
Thinking that it would be nice to adopt two pets for companionship, Christina and Jim met a few pairs of bonded cats at our Adoption Center, but none seemed the perfect fit. That’s when a volunteer introduced them to Elsa. “She was so striking, and she stepped out of her cage right onto Jim’s lap wanting love,” Christina says. Though Chester and Elsa weren’t bonded—in fact, it’s likely that they had not interacted much at all—Christina spotted the dark grey boy and was instantly intrigued.
“While Jim was rubbing Elsa, Chester, with his sweet one-eyed stare, was meowing to us across the room,” she recalls. “He stepped out, rubbed against our legs, allowed me to hold him, and they immediately felt like family!” The couple adopted both cats that day and headed home to begin a new life together in their Bronx apartment.
Though Chester and Elsa weren’t bonded or related, they soon became the best of friends. “We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly they acclimated,” says Christina. The two cats love snuggling together, playing (“they sound like wild horses running through our apartment!”) and sharing windowsills while they nap in the sun. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, and Christina says they are a joy to watch.
“Elsa talks to all three of us constantly, and her favorite spot in the middle of the night is on our heads,” laughs Christina. “Chester is our quiet, gentle little boy who loves to have his head rubbed. We feel so blessed and we’re pretty sure they do, too!”
Congratulations to this fabulous foursome for proving that it only takes one thing to form a family: love!
An approximately six-month-old puppy is now in the care of the ASPCA after being rescued from cruelty by officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). A concerned citizen called the NYPD early Friday morning after witnessing the puppy, named Hennessy, being beaten with a shovel and buried in the snow.
Hennessy—now called “Lacey”— is recovering in the intensive care unit of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where she is receiving around-the-clock care and resting from her injuries. Despite the abuse she has endured in the past, Lacey is an affectionate puppy who appears to have a strong spirit.
"The amount of pain inflicted on such a young, vulnerable dog is truly inconceivable," says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group. "Our staff is doing all we can to make her comfortable and applauds everyone involved in pursuing justice for Lacey."
The NYPD made an arrest in this case, and the alleged abuser has been charged with Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree.
It is too soon for us to comment on Lacey’s ultimate prognosis, and as this is an open case, we cannot provide further information at this time.
“We applaud the brave citizens who witnessed this barbaric act and called the NYPD," says Lawrence. "We encourage anyone who witnesses an animal crime in progress in New York City to please call 911 immediately. You may be saving that animal's life."
To report animal cruelty not in progress, please call 311 in New York City. If you are outside of New York City, visit our Fight Cruelty FAQs to learn how to report animal cruelty in your area.
We’re all still reeling from last week’s revelations in The New York Times of animal mistreatment that verges on the sadistic at the USDA’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC). The violent images depicted in the exposé—a pig being dissected alive by an apparently gleeful researcher, a young cow left to die from her injuries after USDA employees immobilized her and allowed her to be mounted by bulls for hours until her legs broke, hundreds of “rag-doll” lambs dead in a field because researchers intentionally left them out in the cold—paint a picture of the USDA’s callous indifference to animal suffering.
Other than a few tepid statements, the USDA has done little over the past week to refute the notion that apathy toward animal suffering is endemic at the agency. The agency’s anemic response certainly raises questions about what other horrors might yet be discovered at the other federal Agricultural Research Services facilities in about a dozen states across the country that conduct research aimed at making animal production more profitable.
This week the ASPCA told the USDA that our taxpayer-funded agencies must take their marching orders from the public and not industry alone (see our full letter below). Americans will not tolerate needless animal suffering and won’t allow our public institutions to endorse and perpetrate cruelty.
We urge the USDA to directly address the allegations of abuse at the USMARC and make the structural and cultural changes necessary to ensure that this inexcusable brutality never happens again. We will not turn the page on the gut-wrenching images of abuse until the USDA accepts responsibility and decides to be a leader in eradicating cruelty.
Paddy is a shy cat who loves attention from his favorite humans. He can be a little nervous when he first meets new people, but don’t be fooled—this affectionate guy would be thrilled to curl up by your side for plenty of cat naps! With a little space to himself and some yummy treats, he’ll come out of his shell for plenty of snuggles in no time.
This handsome cat has a few special medical conditions and can be particular about his litter box, but our Behavioral team can walk you through the best ways to manage his needs. Adopt Paddy today!
Paddy is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Paddy, please visit his profile page.
To learn more about Paddy and to watch him in action, check out the video below!
The National Chicken Council calculates that about 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed this Sunday, February 1, when much of America will be watching the biggest football game of the year.
When you see a platter piled high with wings, remember that every pair of wings represents an individual chicken. Here’s what his life was probably like in today’s age of factory farming:
Could barely fly The chicken industry has bred chickens to be up to three times bigger than they used to be, but that weight means they often can’t walk without pain, never mind get off the ground easily. Slower-growing, healthier chickens can perch and even fly up into low branches of trees.
Couldn’t balance Some chickens are so incapacitated by their ungainly bodies that they have to use their wings for balance (like crutches) to shuffle to a source of food or water. The practice is sometimes called “wing walking.”
Could barely move Imagine a football field full of chickens, from one end zone to the other. This is what a typical industrial chicken shed on a factory farm is like: Tens of thousands of birds are packed into giant, windowless structures, living in their own waste. This causes open sores on their chests and feet that can act as gateways to infection. With often less than one square foot of floor space each, birds have no ability to perch, forage or even move easily.
It doesn’t have to be this way! The ASPCA’s Truth About Chicken campaign is encouraging companies to use more humane practices to finally address the suffering stemming from unnatural growth rates and poor conditions.