Braveheart’s Story: A Senior Tail

June 14, 2021


When Joy J. and her family decided to adopt a cat, they didn’t imagine choosing one over the age of 10 years, let alone a cat with chronic kidney disease.

But when they met Braveheart, a 12-year-old female feline at the ASPCA Adoption Center on January 5, 2020, they knew they’d found their pet.  

“Joy and her family were very open-minded,” explains Amber Deal, a Matchmaker at the ASPCA Adoption Center. “Their only requirement was that their future cat get along with everyone in the family. Braveheart instantly came to my mind. They listened closely while I told them about her personality and special circumstances.” 


“Amber helped us learn what we needed to know and was very honest,” says Joy. “It was refreshing.”

Meeting Braveheart for the first time proved to be a special moment for everyone. “We all piled into her room, and Braveheart approached us,” recalls Joy, who was there with her husband Gregory and their three children. “She was quiet but didn’t shy away. She just seemed like she was at home. She sat on my husband’s lap and wasn’t jittery at all.”

“Braveheart charmed as she always does,” Amber says. It wasn’t long before Joy and Gregory, along with their kids, DJ, 14; Dorian, 11; and Alicia, 9; agreed that Braveheart was “the one.”

Braveheart and her new family

Waiting for the Right Family

True to her name, Braveheart, has shown remarkable resilience in the past year.  

She was transported to the ASPCA from South Carolina’s Grand Strand Humane Society on April 23, 2019 as part of the ASPCA’s Relocation Initiative. Senior Braveheart was adopted—and returned—on two occasions, once just before Christmas.

Once the Jones family made their decision, Dr. Danielle Delfino, a veterinarian at the Adoption Center, met with them and provided critical information about Braveheart's possible life expectancy and future health needs, including a special diet.

“I was surprised at her age,” admits Joy. “But we decided then and there that Braveheart should be part of our family. Older animals need homes too, and Braveheart needed a place to spend the rest of her life.”

braveheart resting on a heater

A Home for Life

In her new home, Braveheart has acclimated well.

That doesn’t surprise Eileen Hanavan, Director of Volunteer and Foster Engagement, who shared her office with Braveheart at the ASPCA for a short time. 

“She was a little darling,” Eileen recalls. “She made herself right at home, took naps in our laps and was a gentle and charming soul all around.”


Joy’s son, Dorian, was initially afraid of cats, but Braveheart was able to change that.

“Once we got Braveheart home, Dorian experienced how sweet she is and decided that he likes cats,” says Joy, who adds that Braveheart’s good nature also changed her sister-in-law’s mind about cats as well. 

Thrilled with her good fortune finding the “perfect” pet, Joy offers this advice for future adopters: “Don’t forget about those who are not the youngest or aren’t perfect. They need love, too.” 

As for Braveheart, she’s getting exactly what she needs. “We are all in love with Braveheart,” Joy says. “She’s here to stay.”

braveheart sleeping under blankets

In honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and our senior feline friends like Braveheart, the ASPCA is teaming up with Arm & Hammer™ Feline Generous to host a giveaway celebrating our golden-aged shelter cats! All June long, we want to hear from shelters and cat parents about their “senior tails” and how their senior cats have brought happiness to their lives! Find out more about the Senior Tails Giveaway and share your senior cat story today!