When Tiny the cat was dropped off at the Fredericton SPCA in a cardboard box on New Year’s Day in 2012 he weighed thirty pounds. Cats who weigh thirty pounds don’t get to live very long lives. Their bodies just aren’t made to take the strain, but also, at that size cats just aren’t able to do all the really fun things that cats like to do.
Soon though, with a little help and a lot of love Tiny was on the road to recovery. He was taken in by caring foster mom Nancy Garon and has lost half his body weight – a goal I can appreciate.
The first news story about Tiny showing up at the SPCA got more than a quarter-million views and his story went worldwide. It would seem there is little the Internet enjoys more than a fat-cat.
Nancy and the rest of Tiny’s caregivers set out to give him the life he deserved. The Fredericton SPCA is marking their 100th Anniversary this week, and the Provincial Government took the unusual step of introducing Tiny on the floor of the legislature to honor his accomplishments and to celebrate the work of the SPCA.
Tiny has a line of Tiny Ties that brought in more than $10,000 in 2013. All of that money supports a special fund for animals that may need surgeries the SPCA operating budget wouldn’t usually cover. I’ve met many of the pets who have benefited from the fund and they’ve all gone on to be successfully adopted, something that likely wouldn’t have happened had they come with the financial burden of a necessary surgery.
As I hugged Tiny by the steps of the Legislature, you wouldn’t know that just moments ago he had the Premier cooing over him, giving him an official government head pat and chin scratch. He sat snuggled in my arms purring up a storm, if not quite happy to be passed around, certainly willing. Seeing him in action is like watching a celebrity do talkshow after talkshow to promote their latest movie. It’s not their favorite part of the job, but they know it’s necessary.
Tiny purrs his way through all of this because he seems to know this is how he pays it forward. He knows that all of the excitement about him and his story can be leveraged to help other animals – not just with weight loss, but with whatever is standing between them and their shot at starting over through adoption.
In an interview Nancy has talked about the change she has seen in Tiny as the pounds have come off. She talked about how he used to sit on the floor, staring up at the Lazy-Boy, crouching down to a jump position, but then hesitating because he knew he wouldn’t make it. He wouldn’t jump and fail, he just wouldn’t even try. These days? He walks in to Nancy’s bedroom and gracefully leaps to the top of her triple dresser with barely a second thought.
Nancy’s words touched me. I know that feeling well; the hesitation and fear that kept Tiny from trying to leap up on the Lazy-Boy. Maybe he tried once and didn’t make it, or maybe he was just too afraid to try at all – but when he went and curled up on the floor next to the Lazy-Boy, I know he hated himself just a little bit for a having to settle.
That’s why this little guy steals my heart. I know what it’s like to redefine what is possible. I know that when he sits on top of Nancy’s triple dresser now, a small part of him is proud but the rest of him is looking around for the next tallest thing to try – because these days, there’s no stopping Tiny. The hesitation is gone. I promise you the fear weighed him down more than the 15 pounds he’s lost.
Congratulations to Tiny, his family, and to all my friends at the Fredericton SPCA. Congratulations on 100 years of amazing stories like this one.