Sometimes in life, unpredictable events happen, and circumstances change. This happened for Amardeep S. when he moved to New York City from Los Angeles. He originally brought his feline companion with him, but sadly had to surrender his cat when he could no longer provide the care they needed.
As the years passed, the painful but necessary decision he made still weighed heavily on Amardeep’s mind. One day, a friend suggested that maybe the way to honor his previous cat was to adopt one who needed a home now. Amardeep considered this and realized it made perfect sense now that he was in a better position to care for one. So in June 2019, Amardeep headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center in search of his new best friend—a cat named Affogato was the first to catch his eye.
In April 2019, Detective Investigators from the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office and New York Police Department (NYPD) officers discovered 23 deceased cats inside an apartment in Staten Island, New York. Though the scene was disturbing, officers also found two surviving felines, who were brought to the ASPCA for immediate care and treatment. Affogato was one of the two kitties who had endured living in such deplorable conditions.
The ASPCA Animal Forensic Sciences team works closely with law enforcement and plays a vital role on a crime scene, such as the circumstances where Affogato was found.
Dr Jasmine Bruno, Forensic Veterinarian at the ASPCA, was on the scene when Affogato was rescued and provided valuable insight for authorities on his condition as well as documenting her findings on site.
“As a forensic veterinarian, it is our responsibility, not only to triage and perform examinations on the animals, but to document findings on scene which would be considered ‘evidence’,” Dr Bruno, tells us. “Documentation is performed through taking photographs of the animal’s environment, making a sketch or drawing of the area(s) where the animal is kept, recording videos, and collecting any information related to the animal’s case such as medication, food or water samples.”
Evidence collection and analysis is important to provide valuable information to law enforcement and prosecutors for case proceedings. Richmond County District Attorney’s Office is currently prosecuting the animal cruelty case against the woman who lived in the apartment where the cats were found. That case is pending in court.
“In animal cruelty cases, the animal itself is also considered evidence,” Dr Bruno continues. “Therefore, it is important that the veterinarian be able to document the animal’s condition at the scene—before there are any treatments done—and perform a thorough physical examination and necessary diagnostics. The results will also allow us to make a treatment plan for the animal and provide the best medical care possible.”
Despite his past, Affogato settled in well at the ASPCA and Behaviorists described him as a “sweet cat that enjoyed human affection.” He even sought attention and remained relaxed when being pet and being picked up. But as happy as he was at the ASPCA, Affogato needed a loving home to call his own.
Picking a Tuxedo
When Amardeep arrived at the Adoption Center, he was looking for a black cat. But on his tour of our adoptable kitties he saw an intriguing tuxedo cat that captured his heart.
“When I first saw [Affogato], a lady had his cubicle open and was petting him,” recalls Amardeep. “He was gorgeous, leaning out and looking very friendly. I thought the lady was another adopter, so I thought maybe she got to him first—but she was only a volunteer! As soon as I realized that, I decided he was mine.”
Amardeep made the adoption official on June 11, 2019 and named the sweet cat Obu—a name that translates to “child,” according to Amardeep.
A Home for Obu
“As soon as I brought him home, he escaped from his carrier and scooted under the bed,” says Amardeep. “I decided I would contain him in my bedroom.” Our Behavior team suggests keeping newly adopted cats confined to one room until they get comfortable in their new home, then allow them to explore. And shortly after bringing Obu home, this method proved to be effective!
“Five hours later, he came out and jumped onto the bed and put his paws on my chest and gave me a kiss. He rubbed his face on me for a few minutes, and I rubbed him back and he went back under the bed,” says Amardeep. “When I turned out the lights and said goodnight to him, he immediately leapt onto the bed and nuzzled me. I was so shocked that in such a short time he was feeling safe and comfortable.”
Since then, Obu has completely settled in and shows Amardeep how happy he is to be home. Alongside cuddles and affection, this guy likes to be held by his new dad and even gives high fives. He also enjoys listening to music—classical and jazz are his favorites!
Obu is a world away from the cruel situation he was rescued from. Safe and loved, this affectionate kitty has found the best buddy to spend his happy life with.
“I feel very fortunate to have such a loving and handsome cat,” says Amardeep. “I am eager to see what our future brings.”