Black Cat Obi Finds New Hope with An Adoring Adopter

August 17, 2023


When Jen W. moved from Rochester to New York City in August 2022, she gave her black-and-white cat, five-year-old Kylo, a few months to settle in. But he clearly needed more than time. 

“Kylo was very anxious and needed a buddy,” says Jen, a pediatric researcher and psychologist. “He was so lonely. I knew I needed to adopt a very social cat.”


When Jen came across the ASPCA on Petfinder, she filled out an application. Just a few hours later, Jen received a call from Despina Parthemos, an ASPCA Matchmaker.

“Despina gave me a rundown of available animals and recommended Piano, a two-year-old male, because he was good with other animals,” says Jen. “I told her I love black cats!”  After meeting Piano at the Adoption Center, Jen adopted him on December 12.

Obi Uses His Friendly Force

Jen’s previous black cat, Snowball, had died of a kidney infection.

“Snowball liked Kylo’s company but would keep him at arm’s distance, but Kylo and Piano adapted to each other in just two days,” Jen says. “Piano “chirped” at him and gave him space.”


“He’s the epitome of a black cat in every way,” Jen adds. “He’s got a great personality. He’s a smart little guy and has a lot going on upstairs. He’s my little goblin, sweet and confident.”

Jen and her boyfriend Owen changed Piano’s name to Obi, inspired by the sage and adventurous “Star Wars” character.


“He’s a wise cat, and it fits him,” says Jen. “Black cats are just the best.”

Overwhelmed by Cats

Piano was one of more than two dozen cats surrendered to the ASPCA by their former owner, an overwhelmed caregiver in Queens.

“The owner had visited the ASPCA Animal Hospital to let them know she needed our help with spay/neuter surgery and other services, and the hospital contacted our Community Engagement team,” says Shadina Arnett, an ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinator who led the case. 

On July 14, Shadina, accompanied by ASPCA Foster Coordinator, Colleen Jaskot, visited the owner at her Queens apartment.

“All the cats were free roaming in the kitchen and living room,” says Shadina. “While they appeared healthy, they were all intact and fighting for resources, some with minor injuries. A few had upper respiratory infections. But they were affectionate, playful and well-socialized. We were happy that most of the cats were not in bad shape, although there were some newborn kittens the owner didn’t know about.” 

On a subsequent visit to the apartment, ASPCA Veterinary Resident, Dr. Biana Tamimi, accompanied Shadina and assessed the cats as healthy enough for spay and neuter surgery aboard one of our mobile vehicles. 

A total of 27 cats were altered that day in the vehicle, which was parked in front of the owner’s home for a full day. On October 21, the owner chose to relinquish 26 of her cats, which were all named after musical instruments, including Piano. She kept several cats, all of whom were soon spayed and neutered.


Shadina says cases of overwhelmed caregivers frequently involve a social worker contacting the ASPCA with concerns about too many animals in the home. But this case was different. 

“That this owner cared enough to seek help speaks volumes,” Shadina says. “She was on dialysis and had health issues and went out of her way to find us, which is admirable.”

Obi and Kylo Form an Alliance 

With Obi’s outgoing personality and gregarious nature, it’s no surprise that he was used as a “helper cat” at the ASPCA to encourage shy cats to come out of their shells. Jen credits Obi with his own easy transition to Kylo, noting that Obi loves to snuggle and often uses Kylo as a pillow.


“They have similar energy levels and play well together,” says Jen. “I’ve never seen two cats get along so well.”

Meeting Obi has cemented Jen’s adoration for black cats.


“Black cats are curious, chatty and friendly, but often get short shrift,” says Jen, whose mother and sister have also had good experiences with black cats. “I’ve always thought they’re cool.”

“It makes me feel good to give another pet a home,” Jen adds. Obi is such a great fit—I couldn’t have a better match.”