As a full-time student pursuing her Master’s in writing and a foster mom for puppies through East Tennessee Animal Alliance, Moe Long has her hands full.
As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she also has a dog of her own: Opie, a loving companion who weighs “all of twelve pounds soaking wet,” Moe joked.
But when Moe saw a three-month-old kitten in Watauga Humane Society that was different from the rest, she knew she had to help.
Little did she know, this kitten would grow up and reveal a secret side of himself.
Keep reading to discover how this loving cat and dog joined forces to do a very important job…
One of a Kind
Moe knew this kitten was special.
“He didn’t look like any of the other kittens. He had a bad eye, actually,” Moe said. “I picked him out of the litter because he was the only cat that didn’t pay any attention to me and I kind of liked that.”
Not much about his past was known. The shelter didn’t know if something had happened to his eye or if he was born that way.
The kitten’s past didn’t matter to Moe; she was more concerned about his future.
The shelter staff assured Moe that the kitten’s eye wasn’t going to be an ongoing medical issue.
Though he did have some pre-existing issues with sight, they wouldn’t get worse.
Thankfully, that proved to be true. Since adopting him and naming him Otis, this spunky kitten has embraced life.
“He’s never had any serious problems with his eye. It doesn’t seem to cause him any trouble,” she said.
Moe did, however, notice something unusual: Otis had impaired depth perception.
“He’ll frequently try to jump to things and miss,” Moe explained.
Otis doesn’t let that slow him down. He still plays hard, gets into mischief, and loves sunbathing.
But that wasn’t always the case. At first, Otis was a little shy– especially when it was time to meet Moe’s dog, Opie.
Best Fur-Friends Forever
Part of the reason Moe wanted to adopt another pet was because of Opie.
Opie followed Moe around everywhere. He was her shadow.
Wherever Moe went, Opie followed.
But with Moe’s busy schedule, she worried Opie was growing lonely.
“I wanted him to have someone else around the house when I was gone. And I thought a kitten would be great,” Moe said. “I hoped they’d hang out together and be friends.”
Opie was eager to meet Otis. However, Otis needed some time to adjust to her new dog brother.
“When I brought Otis home. He was a little skittish at first,” said Moe.
But both Moe and Opie were patient with their new feline family member.
Otis hid under the bed for a few days while he mustered up the courage to introduce himself.
It didn’t take long for him to give into Opie’s charm. The two went from strangers to best friends in a matter of days.
“It didn’t take long for Otis to take to my dog. He would hop on the couch and groom Opie,” she said. “He immediately started napping and cuddling with Opie.”
Now, Moe has two fuzzy shadows.
Even still, Otis was about to surprise his mom with new talent!
Lending a Helping Paw
Moe often fosters dogs, puppies, and kittens who have been neglected or abused.
Naturally, the animals have a hard time trusting humans after what they’ve endured.
That’s when Otis stepped up to the challenge.
He started taking puppies and kittens under his wing and showing them how to love and trust humans.
It’s rare for a cat to be so comfortable around new dogs, but Otis is a natural! He was born for this job.
“He’s actually really helpful with foster puppies who don’t like people,” Moe explained. “So we know that if we have a puppy who doesn’t want to be around me, if they’re skittish and scared of people, we’ll just bring Otis around them and let them hang out.”
Just like how he almost immediately befriended Oppy, Otis takes other animals under his wing and helps socialize them.
It’s almost as if Otis remembers how patient and gentle Opie was with her and he’s paying it forward.
The love and support Otis gives the foster animals is a gift that keeps on giving. The foster animals grow up to be friendly, trusting pets.
“Otis is very good at nurturing them and showing them, ‘Hey, these are my people and my people are good.’ So that’s been really fun to watch,” she said.
Moe, Opie, and Otis are a team. They’re dedicated to preparing the foster animals for a fresh start at life.
Thanks to them, these foster animals have a bright future ahead.
One BIG Happy Family
Since his adoption, Otis has grown— literally and figuratively!
“He’s been really great. He’s bigger than my dog now, which is crazy. He’s a huge cat,” Moe laughed.
Otis hasn’t just matured physically. He’s smart– a little too smart, according to Moe.
“He’s a really smart cat,” she said. “If he wants me to get up and I won’t, he turns on the lamps in my room. He has learned that if plays with the ball chain enough, his paw will get stuck and the light will come on.”
These two may tussle over the lamps, but they both agree that their family has a bright future.
Moe, Otis, and Opie are changing the world, one foster puppy at a time!
When they’re not on puppy duty, they’re relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
This sweet little family has a lifetime of beautiful memories ahead of them.