The Wild Reason This “Regular” Cat is Taking the Internet By Storm

At a certain point, calling your dog or cat a “pet” no longer does justice to the special bond you’ve come to share. Most of us treat our animals like brothers, sisters, or even children, and at the end of the day the affection and care that our furry friends give us really isn’t that much different from the love we give to our fellow humans.

Erin Merryn knew this more than anyone, so when circumstances threatened to separate her from her beloved fur baby, she did everything she could to keep them together. Little did Erin know that years later, this decision would come to shape her own family in a remarkable way and prove that “pets” are more human than we think…

If there’s one thing most animal lovers hate about colleges, it’s their rules about pets. Sure, a guinea pig or a couple of goldfish are nice, but there’s nothing like curling up with a big fluff ball after a long day of hitting the books.

PetLife

This was the case for Erin Merryn, who, while off at school, longed to cuddle with her furry pals back home. That’s why despite her university’s strict rules – and warnings from her friends – Erin adopted a sweet orange kitty named Bailey.

But after only a week, Erin was busted with the kitten in her dorm. The 19-year-old begged to keep her new pet, but the university wouldn’t have it — she had 48 hours to find Bailey a new home.

Unfortunately, Erin’s parents couldn’t offer much help: with two cats and a dog already under their care, taking on another pet seemed too great a responsibility. And so, like the university, her parents gave it to her straight: the cat had to go.

Finally, after exhausting all of her options, Erin got in touch with an elderly woman from the neighborhood she lived in as a child. Despite having pets of her own, the woman agreed to take Bailey into her home.

Just four days later, however, the elderly woman reached back out to Erin with some heartbreaking news. The woman’s pets weren’t getting along with Bailey; he’d have to find someplace else to live.

At this time, Erin was readying for a month-long break from school and decided, despite her parents’ protests, to bring Bailey home with her. But even if she promised to keep the cat in her room, convincing her parents to take Bailey in wouldn’t be easy.

And she was right! Her parents were livid over her keeping the cat, but Erin assured them she’d spend the next month looking for a home for Bailey. All the while, however, Erin was secretly trying to get her parents to fall in love with the adorable kitty.

Sure enough, they did, and 14 years later Erin and Bailey are still together and as inseparable as they were back then. Still, she never anticipated what would happen when their twosome finally became a trio…

See, in 2014, Erin got pregnant with her first child, Abby, and was nervous about how the cat would react to a new member of the family. Would he be upset? Would he be jealous? After all, it had really just been the two of them for all these years.

When Abby was finally born, Bailey was initially wary of the new baby and would spook at the sight of the little human. But it wasn’t long before Bailey’s hesitation passed. Just like her and her mother, the cat and baby Abby grew inseparable as well.

Not a day went by where Bailey wasn’t at Abby’s side, curling up next to her during feedings and following her everywhere she went. The loyal tabby would even stand guard while the tiny infant napped. 

Bailey No Ordinary Cat / Facebook

As Abby aged, Bailey went from being a spectator of play time to a participant, joining the toddler on all of her adventures. And when it was time for “Dr. Abby” to open her “office,” Bailey was always the first patient at her door.

Then, in 2016, Erin welcomed baby Hannah to the family. You’d think that all this time spent with Abby would’ve pooped the teenage cat out by this point, but Bailey proved that he still had plenty of love to give.

Whether being fed, read to, pushed in a stroller, or dressed up like a princess, Bailey was always down to join in the fun that his two sisters were having. And no matter how much or for how long they wanted to play, Bailey just kept coming back for more.

“Normal cats don’t let you do that, but Bailey does,” said Erin of her sweet fur ball. “I think he adores these girls so much, he just tolerates it.”

Bailey’s reputation as the world’s kindest, cuddliest cat soon began to grow, and in August 2018, a video of Abby singing to Bailey went viral. Ellen DeGeneres even shared Bailey on her Instagram, turning the lovable feline into an online sensation overnight. 

And now, believe it or not, Bailey will have even more opportunities to go viral with his adorable antics now that Erin has welcomed her third daughter, Claire, into the family. It looks like he’s already decided to get a head start!

But the good news doesn’t stop there — Bailey’s also going to have his own book! Bailey: No Ordinary Cat is set to be released in 2109, and will feature a collection of photos of the adorable cat and his sisters. He’ll definitely be excited to add this one to his collection!

Bailey is truly one of a kind, but touching lives is simply a natural instinct for most cats. That’s why you’ll not only find them in homes, but also in some pretty peculiar places as well!

Take firehouses for example. They’re full of heroic firefighters, of course, but they’re all usually brimming with bright red fire trucks, life-saving equipment, those handy fire poles, and…

Jennifer Mansfield-Jones / Wikimedia

…Dalmatians! These spotted dogs have a storied history with firehouses, as they acted as alarm systems in the days of horse-drawn carriages. Before sirens, a Dalmatian’s bark would alert people to move out of the way. One firehouse opted for another kind of mascot.

tinyfroglet / Flickr

The Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina, has a four-legged mascot that doesn’t exactly fall in line with tradition, and it’s all thanks to one special animal who simply showed up one day and never left…

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The story goes that the fire chief went out one day, and when he returned to the station, this little fella was sitting inside waiting for him. Amused by the interloping ginger kitty, the fire chief turned to his crew, who shrugged and asserted, “He lives here now.”

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The cat, whose name was, appropriately, Blaze, showed up to the station malnourished, and he simply decided he wasn’t leaving. The crew took pity on the indomitable cat and offered him some of the fried chicken from the kitchen’s fridge.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Once Blaze was a permanent member of the firehouse, he seemed to develop his own gravitational pull, because the firefighters couldn’t get enough of him! Here’s one firefighter giving Blaze a nice back scratch. Still, this cat served a more utilitarian purpose at the firehouse, too…

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

See, Blaze was no deadbeat roommate. He was sure to lend a paw on the day-to-day repair work. Blaze even gave his firefighter pals supportive high-fives! Sometimes, it’s just nice to have someone there to tell you “good job.”

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fire engine repair was just one aspect of the job for Blaze. Sometimes, he performed thorough inspections of all the equipment… or it’s possible he thought those fire hoses were just big strings to swat at.

One thing that surprised all of the firefighters was how at peace Blaze was with all of the noise. Blaring sirens, loud trucks—he slept through it all! It might’ve helped that he had his very own special firetruck blanket, too.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

In fact, whenever Blaze curled up in bed for the night, the firefighters at the station tucked him in with his special blanket. It was important that Blaze got a good night’s rest; he had a lot of important work to do every day!

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fire stations are a cat’s dream house. Furnished with hanging uniforms, spacious lockers, and all kinds of equipment, Blaze had the time of his life playing hide-and-go-seek with the firefighters. Can you find him in this picture?

Blaze also helped the firefighters decompress after a tough day on the job. In an Animal Planet interview, one fireman recalled a moment after returning from a brutal fire: “Within thirty seconds of coming home from that fire, [Blaze] came around the corner, and just sat next to me, just kinda like, ‘hey, I’m here if you need me,'” he said.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fighting fires is tough, dangerous work. Thankfully, Blaze offered these firemen reprieve from all of that. No matter how tough the job might get, these brave men and women knew that Blaze would be waiting for them back at the station.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Blaze meant so much to the crew at the Belmont Fire Department that they honored him with his very own custom cap. Now, Blaze is officially part of the crew—and he even has the official gear to prove it!

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The firefighters likely had no idea they would be making such a great friend on the day that Blaze wandered into the station. But because they let him into their home and treated him with kindness, Blaze happily returned the favor. He might not be a Dalmatian, but he sure makes for one heck of a mascot!

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