Toby’s story (the cat who walked 12 miles) goes viral

Originally posted March 24th, 2018 on the SPCA Dog Walk event page on Facebook

We’ve spent the last 36 hours fielding calls from newspapers, websites and TV stations from across the country about Toby the cat.

We first shared Toby’s story in March on Facebook to promote the 2018 Dog Walk and Woofstock event, May 6th. His post received a lot of response, but it wasn’t until he was adopted that his story really took off on social media and has now been seen in New Zealand, Italy, Canada, South America and around the globe.

The SPCA of Wake County took Toby in from a local county animal shelter at the end of February 2018. He was not immediately up for adoption as he needed to be neutered and had an upper respiratory infection. We were told from the shelter that originally took him in that his family surrendered him and requested that he be euthanized. They had tried to re-home him to another family, but he ended up back at their house, apparently a 12-mile journey. When he showed back up, they took him to the shelter. The SPCA regularly works with that shelter to take in animals and we were happy to give Toby a second chance.

(We did learn this morning, April 19th, from a volunteer that Toby had originally showed up as a stray to the family’s home and wasn’t getting along with their cats.)

Initially, the seven-year-old FIV positive kitty wasn’t very excited about sharing a room with other cats, but he quickly became a volunteer favorite. It took a few weeks of waiting, but he was adopted Friday the 13th in April!

Toby’s new mom, Michele, says her sister in New Hampshire saw a post by Beth Stern (Howard Stern’s wife and an animal rescue advocate) on Instagram about Toby. Michele says her sister called her and that she had no hesitation that Toby was meant to be hers. Toby now has two feline siblings and two human siblings.

Toby’s family has started “Team Toby” for this year’s Dog Walk and hopes to raise $5,000 to help other animals like Toby through the SPCA.

Here is a list of a few of the websites and news stations that have featured Toby’s story:

Huffington Post:



Toby with his new mom


Mother Nature Network:

The Today Show:

The Dodo :

Love Meow:

The Daily Mail: :

News and Observer:

One Green Planet:

WMUR – New Hampshire:

This entry was posted in Blog, News and tagged , by Tara Lynn.

12 Responses to “Toby’s story (the cat who walked 12 miles) goes viral”

  1. Donna M Gardner

    How do I make a donation?

  2. Sandi

    This story broke my heart; Toby deserves an awesome life. I made a donation in his honor

  3. Barbara Kennedy

    I volunteer at the SPCA and I remember when he was with us. He was a sweet boy who had been through a lot, but his beautiful face warmed our hearts. This is truly a wonderful story with a happy ending.

    • Marty Singer

      I’m over joyed that such a nice young lady rescued this Handsome nine year old beauty. Unfortunately it also shows there is no shortage of cruel animals ( in this instance ) the human being . We have a nine year old tuxedo girl that our other three cats always pester. She’s not a problem, she’s one of our family.

  4. Janet A Murphy

    I can only feel heart warm for this little cat. 12 miles is so far to find your owner. Good and kind cat spirit

  5. Lisa Heller

    Some beings do not deserve the unconditional love of an animal. I am so happy sweet Toby finally got the family he always deserved. God bless you sweet Toby!

  6. Lisa Heller

    Some beings do not deserve the unconditional love of an animal. I am so happy sweet Toby finally got the family he always deserved. God bless you sweet Toby!

  7. Chris

    So glad Toby found a new forever home…we just spent $800 for our approx. 12 year old cat and $1000’s on our other cat before we had to put him(approx. 14/15 yrs old) down a year ago!!!! It would have been a lot cheaper to put him down, but I could not lose another cat in just less than a year. They wanted over $1500 to run a lot of tests and we didn’t expect it to be as much as it ended up being…blood work, 12 hour stay at the vets and medication to confirm it was an inner ear infection!!!! A week later, he was pretty much back to his old self. We are not rich by any means, we are trying to pay all of these vet bills off but every time we get started, something else pops up!!! If you cannot afford them or only want kittens/young cats…DO NOT get pets at all. Same with any animal! Maybe consider getting pet insurance before they get old or sick…we wish we had!!! It was only $9.99 when we first got them. By the time Smokey got sick, it was too late to get it for him. The price had gone up by this time to get it for Gideon and wish we did…as long as they are healthy and under 10 years old, they don’t need to be vet checked!!! It would be easier to spend $12 +/- every month($144/yr)…you wouldn’t miss it and feel an $800 slap across the face, it would only be maybe $200. NOW, this is in Canada, probably cheaper in the USA. Please don’t take in any pets if you don’t want them when they get older or sick. Think about getting pet insurance before they get sick and/or old. Congratulations on your new family member Pucket family, hope you have many happy years with Toby…he is a beautiful cat

  8. Susanne Fitzwater

    My name is Susanne. I live in Harrah, Oklahoma. I heard Toby’s story this morning on the news. It seriously broke my heart. I was so happy to hear that Toby finally found a forever home. Thank you for sharing Toby’s story. i’m glad it had a happy ending.

  9. Dan

    Michelle Puckett, you are my hero!
    How someone could reject an animal that shows them live and affection, or any animal for that matter astounds me. I have had cats all my life and foster when I can. They bring me so much joy, and cat hair, that I could never imagine my life without them.
    Now Toby is in the safe and loving world he deserves. I’m certain he will spend the rest of his life repaying you with his love.


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