Meet Marvin, A Fearless Feline with an Appetite for Adventure

April 24, 2024


Last summer, Edgar B. drove from his home in Huntington Beach, California to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, visiting friends and family along the way and camping and paddleboarding on the coast of Lake Superior with his Basset hound, Droops, and cat, Marvin.

Wait, cat? Yes, cat.

"Marvin is living his best life,” says Edgar, whose photos from road trips and adventures chronicle the trio’s enthusiastic exploits. At least once a month, Edgar and his furry sidekicks hit the road, usually driving to northern Arizona, where Edgar owns 20 acres of land.


“It’s good for the soul,” he says.

Diagnosis of a Deformity

Marvin, a two-year-old black domestic shorthair, was humanely trapped by a Los Angeles resident and taken to an ASPCA partner clinic, FixNation, in October 2022, to be neutered. There, the ASPCA’s Vanesa Diaz, a Registered Veterinary Technician, noticed Marvin had an upper respiratory infection as well as a facial deformity—and that he was not unsocialized, as was first suspected.

“Despite being sick, he was friendly and in good spirits, very confident and curious,” says Vanesa, who flagged Marvin for the ASPCA Los Angeles Foster Program.

Marvin’s deformity, which can cause labored and noisy breathing, was diagnosed as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a disorder usually found in canine breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs and felines like Persians and Himalayans.


“These breeds have shortened noses and skulls—pushed-in faces—which sometimes leads to issues like Marvin’s, or more severe problems with breathing, regulating body temperature, dental or digestive trouble,” says Dr. Casey Connors, Medical Director of the ASPCA Community Medicine’s Western Region. “Brachycephalic breeds make up a small minority of cats in the U.S. and they are typically from breeders. If the issues resulting from the syndrome interfere with the cat’s quality of life, it may be alleviated by a special surgery, which involves widening the nostrils and shortening the soft palate at the roof of the mouth.”


“The shape of Marvin’s face sometimes causes nasal discharge,” says Ariel Collins, Director of Operations, L.A. Feline Programs. “He needs help keeping his face clean, but otherwise has a great quality of life, so he did not require surgery.”

A Playmate for Pumpkin

Covina resident and librarian, Leila H., has fostered eight cats and kittens for the L.A. Foster Program since 2021. In November 2022, while fostering a feline named Pumpkin, she asked to foster a second kitten.

“Pumpkin was feisty and rambunctious, and I thought, ‘The poor dude needs a buddy,’” says Leila. “The ASPCA didn’t have a kitten Pumpkin’s size but offered a young adult named Marvin who was playful and a good match.”

Leila fostered Marvin for two months and fell in love.

“He’s fascinated by the TV and electronics,” she says. “He reminds me of the cartoon character, Marvin the Martian, which is how he got his name.”

Three-month-old Pumpkin was calmer and more relaxed with a buddy.


“Having a friend made a big difference in Pumpkin’s life,” says Leila.

Leila, who also has two senior cats, adopted Pumpkin, and soon after a kitten from the Downey Animal Care Center whom she named Gus as a permanent playmate for Pumpkin.

“They immediately hit it off,” she says.


When Edgar told his friend Andrea C., an ASPCA foster caregiver, that he wanted to adopt a kitten to keep his five-year-old Basset hound company, she immediately thought of Marvin.


“Eddie’s Basset loves cats,” says Andrea, whose cat Ziggy, a former foster, was featured in a previous story. “I described Marvin as dog-like.”

“Andrea told me that Marvin had a rough life as a kitten and a respiratory ailment,” Edgar says. “But he’s resilient and not afraid of anything. I said, ‘Great, let’s make it happen.’”


Edgar met Marvin on a Zoom call with Leila and sealed the deal. It wasn’t long before Marvin and Droops were BFFs.

On the Road Again

Edgar’s Sprinter van accommodates the traveling trio’s every need.

“Marvin loves watching the cars go by and goes crazy for the windshield wipers,” Edgar says. “He’s also a birdwatcher.”


On their first trip to Arizona, Droops, Edgar and Marvin navigated a paddleboard through the shallow, calm waters of the Colorado River. Both pets are on a tether and harness.


“Marvin trusts me and even likes to swim with his neck above water,” says Edgar. “He shows no signs of fear.”

He adds, “Most of my cat friends are jealous of Marvin. He’s just a true adventure cat.”