There's absolutely nothing wrong with the facilities at Friends for Life animal shelter in Houston. The room for senior cats is clean and spacious with plenty of food, water and toys. Humans and other felines provide lots of companionship and potential adopters stop by all the time for pets and cuddles.
But Quilty the cat just wasn't feeling it. The 6-year-old kitty is a free soul who just can't be confined.
For several months, Quilty was a resident of the senior cat room. Right after Quilty arrived, staffers would arrive each morning and, mysteriously, the door to the room would be open with the resident 15 cats roaming all over the shelter, having a ball.
After reviewing security footage, they found Quilty was to blame. He would leap up and pull down the handle on the door, releasing his roommates for some frolicking. He didn't just open the door at night. He opened it repeatedly, several times a day.
Quilty-proofing earns him fame
"Quilty will not be contained. And he has no shame," the shelter posted on Facebook.
While the shelter "Quilty-proofed" the cat room, the Houdini kitty was put into solitary confinement in the lobby. Photos of the very unhappy confined cat and lots of #FreeQuilty posts earned the scowling kitty some well-deserved fame. In response to high demand, the shelter even created Quilty merchandise featuring his disapproving mug.
Here's a look at his escape attempt after the cat room was Quilty-proofed:
"His roommates missed him while he was banished to the lobby. They enjoyed their nighttime escapades around the shelter. The staff, however, did not miss the morning cat wrangling, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree there."
It turns out Quilty's escape-artist technique was not something he picked up at the shelter. He used to let his dog siblings into his house at his old home, the shelter learned.
"If someone out there is looking for a clever cat that gets along with dogs but does not get along with closed doors, we have someone they really need to come and meet. Please. Come meet him. And take him home. Please..." the shelter posted.
A happy ending
As photos and videos spread, Quilty received applications from all over the country. Daring people with solid doorknobs and locks wanted to give this kitty a permanent home.
And now, Quilty is on a trial period, called a sleepover, with Traci and her family, hoping this will be his forever home. They drove four hours to the shelter to come pick up the feisty feline, Jennifer Hopkins, shelter spokesperson, tells MNN in an email.
"They have two dogs, a hamster, and a hedgehog, so we gave them information on how to introduce Quilty to these new roommates (and potential forever siblings!). He warmed up their home, and... to our surprise (and slight annoyance with him), he didn't show ANY of the spiciness and a-holery that he showed here at the shelter (go figure)," she writes.
"Once of his least favorite activities at the shelter had been belly rubs. Guess what he loves in his new home? Belly rubs. In an ironic twist of fate, when Traci and her family submitted an application to adopt him, THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS FAMOUS! How perfect of a match is that?! We didn't intentionally look for someone who didn't know about his fame, it just happened to work out that way. Of course, when they found out, they jumped on board to support his mission of freeing all the cats stuck on the wrong side of the door."
They are so happy with all the love Quilty is getting from around the world that they have promised to continue to send updates.
"They know people want to follow his story of redemption, so they are happy to send us videos, photos, and updates on him," Hopkins says. "We promise to keep people updated on Quilty, but also on his previous shelter-mates who are still looking for their forever home. He stood for all cats, everywhere, that are still looking to get on the other side of that door into their forever home."