Toby Walked 12 Miles to Get Back to the Family That Hated Him

Grab a hankie.

Toby the Cat’s owners didn’t want him anymore. They rehomed him. Toby got confused. Why did his people leave him behind in somebody else’s house? So he quickly exited and walked the 12-miles back to his home.

But his old family was done with him. They took the 7-year-old cat to the pound and asked that he be euthanized.

Toby is sweet and affectionate, and he charmed the shelter staff who then reached out to the Wake County SPCA n Raleigh, North Carolina, and asked if they might have room for ginger lovebug.”The shelter called us at the SPCA to ask if we could take him in and help him find a new family. Of course we said YES!” the shelter posted on Facebook.

Toby the cat

Here’s a video of Toby when he was getting settled at the SPCA:

Shelter workers say it’s a common story.

“I’d like to say that it was surprising but unfortunately there are a lot of stories like Toby’s,” says Tara Lynn, communications manager for the SPCA of Wake County. “The animals may not necessarily walk 12 miles, but there are a lot of animals that are discarded without a second thought. We hear those stories all the time. We just don’t know their full stories.”

While many people on social media angrily commented that the owners should never be allowed to own or adopt animals again, the SPCA used Toby’s story to encourage people to donate so more animals like him can be saved.

They also used his amazing adventure to promote the shelter’s annual fundraising walk.

“If you have an animal that is willing to try to save himself, we thought it would inspire people to maybe walk one mile to save many more animals,” Lynn says.

Toby the cat

In addition to triggering donations and awareness, Toby’s story prompted a lot of people to share his story, hoping to find him a new home. And it worked.

This creamsicle sweetheart was place with a purrfect new family. He has two feline siblings, two human siblings, “and a cat-savvy mom to show him what a loving family is really like.”

Toby the cat

His new mom Michele lives near the SPCA in Raleigh, but heard about Toby from her sister in New Hampshire who saw a post on social media. She immediately rushed over to the SPCA and adopted him. Now Toby’s team will be raising money for the place that found him a new home.

“We were thinking he would need to be an only cat because he was kind of feisty with some of his roommates but his mom says he’s gelled with his roommates at home,” Lynn says.

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About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at

Comments (4)

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  1. Kestergayle says:

    We don’t know his original family’s story. Maybe he was abused by a family member and someone else in the family was trying to save him. Maybe there were other dark things going on and no animal or person should have been living there. Toby’s love and loyalty is so typical of an animal, but he’s certainly better off now. I’m overjoyed he’s found a happy, loving, forever home and I hope his original family is living in peace.

    • Pam C. says:

      If the family had just brought him to the shelter and surrendered him, I might agree with you. But they specifically requested that he be euthanized. I don’t see any kindness or caring in that.

  2. From a bad sad horrible betrayal to a wonderful happy ending. Good acts will bring good and Toby is doing just that, in his own way, to others in need. Great story to share.
    Toodle pips

  3. This makes us so sad, we would give anything if Arty Mouse walked home to us.

    We are so glad Toby has a loving home now.


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