Barney, a gray tabby with stunning green eyes who just found an amazing forever home, had a rough start to his life.

His mama was feral, found pregnant and living in a street colony in Iowa before a caring person rescued and fostered her until she gave birth. As a tiny kitten, Barney almost immediately went to live in the Emmet County Animal Shelter (ECAS), where he would spend the next nine years of his life. 

The caring staff at the shelter watched him grow into an affectionate and outgoing boy, who somehow always kept getting overlooked by adopters. While many other shelters at capacity may have made the choice to ‘euthanize’ Barney to make space, ECAS remained hopeful and — most importantly — they continued to give Barney a chance.

One day, Barney obliged a staff member with a goofy feline grin during a photo that has since gone viral on the online platform Reddit. 

Barney’s introduction post noted the senior cat had spent his whole life at the shelter but was still “the happiest looking cat you’ll see today.”  


Barney (Lindsay Rohrbaugh/Emmet County Animal Shelter)

The post quickly received more than 1,000 comments and 51,000 “upvotes.” It also caught the eye of a social media scroller who has since become Barney’s new caregiver.

Amanda Scherer, who lives in Missouri, said the “super cute” photo immediately snagged her attention. Soon she was on her way across the country to meet and adopt Barney — a six hour drive.

Shelter staff said the mutual affection was instant and that they are overjoyed Barney now has a forever home with Scherer, her husband, their 3-year-old daughter, and another companion animal. 

“He instantly loved them on the day they finally met,” ECAS posted on Facebook. “He’s enjoying loves and attention, as expected!”

ECAS said Barney spent a few days hiding under the family’s bed but has since come out to explore his toys, scratching post, and his new favorite thing: carpet.

“He really loves the carpet in his new home,” ECAS wrote. “He never had that at the shelter.”

Lady Freethinker is so happy that Barney found the fantastic home he deserves!

His story is a heartwarming reminder to adopt companion animals, rather than shop for them. There are gorgeous cats like Barney just waiting for their shot at happiness and hope!