Stars align for kitten survivor of deadly FIP virus

Stardew the black and white cat sitting on a person's lap
Sometimes, you’re in just the right place at just the right time — and that intersection of place and time is where Stardew and Sam met.
By Best Friends staff

Stardew’s days are super busy. After a good night’s sleep, there’s breakfast and wrestling with his sister, then a quick nap followed by tail chasing and setting tummy traps for his family, another nap, quality cuddling time, a nap … you get the picture. It’s an important job, being a young cat in someone’s family. And it’s one Stardew takes very seriously. After all, a few things had to fall into place to land him the position.

As a kitten who’d spent his life outside on his own, Stardew might not have had a lot of experience in the field of being a pet. But after an initial bout of nerves when he first arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary from a nearby shelter, he warmed up to the idea quickly. What could have put Stardew’s future career at risk, however, was feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a viral disease that, until recently, had no treatment available to veterinarians in the United States.

Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill in 2025, and that means animal welfare organizations working together to save pets’ lives. For Stardew, that was the first thing that had to fall into place — receiving treatment for FIP. Then, everything else came together.

The right guys for the job

While Stardew was going through treatment for FIP, Sam Tappan came to the Sanctuary for a working job interview. As Sam was getting to know the Sanctuary and the job he was aiming for, there was of course also plenty of time to meet the animals. They’re whom his job would be about, after all.

And as excited as all the furry friends were to greet their could-be co-worker, it was Stardew whom Sam formed an extra special connection with. It was like magic when they met. Something about this black-and-white kitten and his outgoing, playful personality just felt right.

[Faces of No-Kill: Cat thrives after FIP treatment]

With Sam’s interview period and Stardew’s treatment both nearing their end, one thing was certain: No matter what happened with the job, they belonged together. As soon as Stardew got the all-clear, Sam adopted him. Stardew fit right into the family. With his people, Stardew was all snuggles. And his new feline sister, Dream (who also sports a classy black-and-white coat), was the purr-fect sparring partner.

Being in a home was new for the young cat, but even if he didn’t have the experience, he definitely had the qualifications. Stardew settled into his new role with ease — and he wasn’t the only one.

After getting a new job as Stardew’s person, Sam got the job at Best Friends, too.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

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