All This 5-Year-Old Wants To Do Is Save Street Cats

On the streets of Philadelphia, two cat lovers are doing everything they can to care for the feral cats that roam the rougher neighborhoods. Kris Papiernik and Kia Griffin are independent cat rescuers and have been for the past 10 years.

And each and every time their 5-year-old nephew, Shon, visits for the weekend, he only wants to do one thing — he wants to take care of the street cats.

little boy helps feed street cats

Papiernik and Griffin care for over 40 street cats that live in various feral colonies around Philidelphia neighborhoods, giving them food, water, and getting them spayed and neutered and adopted when they can. They’ve dubbed the different cat colonies the Kolony Kats, Backyard Boys, Stray Kitty Crew, Meow Squad, Gas Station Kitties and Indoor Kitties.

When Shon first expressed interest in helping out with the cats, Papiernik and Griffin weren’t too sure it was the best idea. “We were a little hesitant at first because they’re feral cats, and we thought they’re going to run from a rambunctious 3-year-old,” Papiernik said.

But according to Papiernik, it was the total opposite. “They just gravitated to him,” she said. “He’d scratch their bellies and scratch their heads. It was amazing to see these cats who wouldn’t even allow us to touch them, but immediately took to him. He must have this magical effect that the cats can pick up.”

Though Shon is just 5 years old, he knows the ins and outs of his cat care routine like a pro. “He knows where the food goes, where the water goes, who gets what, and he never forgets to hand out treats and chin scratches,” Griffin said.

“Sometimes he likes to dress up,” Papiernik said. “He said it makes him feel like a superhero for animals.” They call him Catman (like Batman!)

“We couldn’t get Bug neutered or anything because he wouldn’t come to us, and he wouldn’t come near the trap,” Papiernik said. “But when Shon came around and started feeding him, Bug came immediately to him and, ever since then, Bug has been a friendly cat.”

While the trio of cat lovers try to rescue and rehome as many cats as they can, some are too feral and cannot easily be socialized to life as a “domestic” house cat. For these ferals, the most these two rescuers can do is give them food, water and try to get as many of them spayed and neutered as possible.

Shon loves the cats so much, he hates missing any chance to see them.

“If it’s raining or cold or he can’t go, he gets really upset,” Papiernik said. “He cries, and it really hurts him hard.”

But when Shon does get to spend time with the street cats, he’s in his element — and this makes both Papiernik and Griffin extremely proud.

“We love it,” Papiernik said. “It makes us smile.”

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