In a world full of hate, it’s always good to see a real superhero.
One little boy named Shon helps rescue stray cats outside of Philadelphia. His super power, you might ask? He is able to connect with cats who are too feral to become domesticated house cats.
Every time Kris Papiernik and Kia Griffin’s 5-year-old nephew, Shon, comes for a weekend visit, he only wants to do one thing — go outside and take care of the street cats.
For the past 10 years, Papiernik and Griffin have been caring for over 40 street cats who live in rough parts of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. While they try to rescue and rehome as many cats as they can, others are too feral and unsocialized to adjust to domestic life, and the most Papiernik and Griffin can do is feed them, and try to get as many of them spayed and neutered as possible.
With such a noble and massive undertaking, Papiernik and Griffin have needed some help along the way. That’s where their 5-year-old nephew Shon comes into the picture.
“When he was 3 years old he started showing interest in wanting to help us feed the outdoor feral and stray cats,” Papiernik says.
At first, the couple was hesitant to let Shon help, as feral cats don’t always adapt well to changes, new people, or rambunctious 3 year olds, Griffin says.
But, as fate would have it, the cats welcomed Shon with open paws.
One cat, Bug, would not cooperate when it came to getting shots and being neutered. “Nothing we tried worked,” Papiernik said. “Bug eluded any close contact with us for two years.”
When his aunt decided to let Shon help out, the cats took to him right away — including Bug.
“Bug came right over to Shon, rubbed against his legs and allowed him to pet him.”
From that day on, Bug was changed. He was neutered and got the necessary vaccinations. And he’s become one of the friendliest cats in the colony.
Since discovering his stray cat superpowers, Shon visits his aunt regularly, dressed as a superhero, and helps solve any problems that might arise among the 45 cats now under his aunt’s care at four locations in the city.
The pair says that Shon is very gentle with all of the cats they care for, and knows how to properly dish out and distribute the food and water.
“He never leaves without making sure everyone gets treats and chin scratches for the ones who allow him to touch them,” Griffin says.
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, he cries, and it really hurts him hard.”
“He truly loves them, and they love him back just as much.”