It was unpleasant for Jason Belisha’s car to break down earlier this month, but a little gray cat named Popeye couldn’t have been happier.
Belisha was returning his rental car in Decatur, Georgia, when he heard a frantic meow in the parking lot. “I looked left and right, and then beneath the car next to me, where I found the poor little guy, soaking wet and alone,” Belisha told The Dodo.
Belisha invited the cat over, and to his astonishment, the young stray approached without hesitation. He pushed his face on Belisha’s palm, seeking attention. While rescuing an animal didn’t exactly fit into Belisha’s plans for the remainder of the day, he knew he couldn’t abandon the lonely cat.
“It’s times like these that I remind myself, ‘This has to be happening for a reason,’” Belisha explained. “And if I were a stray kitten, I’d want someone to assist me.”
Belisha picked up the stray and changed direction, explaining to the rental agent that he’d need the car for a few more hours to transport the cat to a shelter. Fortunately, the lady at the counter was eager to assist — and to overlook the recent wet paw prints on the car’s inside.
The local shelter’s reaction to the little stray, however, was not what Belisha had hoped for. “They informed me that because he’s over 3 months old, they’d put him back on the street where I found him because he could probably live on his own,” Belisha stated. “No, thanks!”
The shelter provided Belisha with a carrying bag for Popeye, but he didn’t want to be apart from his rescuer for even a second. “He would cry all the time except when I held him in my arms,” Belisha recalled.
Belisha eventually came home with the kitten after picking up his car from the mechanic and visiting the pet store. Popeye immediately began using the litter box and became friends with Belisha’s corgi, Goose. “They hit it off right away,” Belisha added. “It was almost like a miracle.”
Popeye remained the same affectionate kitty that initially approached Belisha crying for help as he became used to living in a home. He also insisted on sleeping in the same bed as his new foster father and dog sibling.
But, no matter how much he adored the small cat, Belisha realized that their arrangement couldn’t last forever. Belisha couldn’t offer the cat the care and attention he required due to his hectic job as a musician and photographer. So he made sure that he could locate someone who did.
“If I couldn’t keep him, one of my good friends reached out and said she had a place for him,” Belisha explained. “I took advantage of the chance and brought him over before I became too connected to him.” I would have gone insane if I had another few days!”
While Belisha was saddened to say goodbye, he knew he was acting in the best interests of both of them. And he’s keeping up with all of Popeye’s adventures.
“He was a delight and a pleasure to be around,” Belisha continued. “Goose and I will miss him terribly, but he’ll always be nearby at my friend’s house… and his new mother sends me videos all the time, so I know he’s OK.”