Gary the cat’s photogenic face holds a memory of where he came from. The feline — who is this week’s #cutepic winner — is one of about 30 cats rescued from an awful case of neglect by the humane law division of New York’s Ulster County SPCA. The kitty suffered from a severe eye infection and by the time he was rescued, there was nothing that could be done to save it.
“When I learned they had finally healed and were in the adoption room, I stopped by to check them out,” Alejandra Martinez, who was once the volunteer coordinator for the shelter, tells PEOPLE of the rescues. “Many of the cats came towards me with curiosity, but Gary immediately stood up on his back paws and demanded to be picked up. Which of course I did! He just purred, nuzzling me and stole my heart. I brought him home to foster him over the weekend, and it’s been a year-and-a-half-long weekend.”
JUST GIVE IT ALL TO GARY
Martinez always thought of herself as a dog person, but adopting Gary changed all that. “This guy and his one eye have taken over me,” she says — and it would appear the house is now under new ownership. “My boyfriend Darin and I live with Gary; he owns the house completely. We’ve come to accept this,” she jokes.
YOU BELONG TO ME
Just in case you were unsure, these are Gary’s people — he makes that abundantly clear in his Instagram posts in which he lounges on top of them. And, when he asks for attention, his people listen! “If he wants you to pick him up and is ignored, he’ll jump and grab onto whatever part of your body he lands on!” Martinez says. “He also loves, loves, loves to cuddle and is very needy and possessive. If I get on the phone during a cuddling session, he gets extremely annoyed, his tail wagging and smacking. No sharing allowed!”
MAKING FETCH HAPPEN
While his looks do not support this theory, Gary might actually be part dog. The cat sits on command (especially for treats!), and also “plays fetch better than almost any dog I’ve met,” she says. “He will bring you his toy for you to throw, run like a maniac to fetch it, and bring it back to you dropping it right at your feet, over and over again … he’s quite the little show-off.”
Gary brings new meaning to the word cat. “He’s just the kind of pet that likes to be around you all day, and runs to greet you when you get home,” says Martinez, who is president of Paco & Lucia, a line of high-end dog clothing ethically made in Peru. “I had always heard that cats tend to be indifferent or more independent. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it is definitely not Gary.”
Want to be next week’s star? Share your #cutepic on Twitter or Instagram with @PEOPLEPets and your furry BFF could be featured in a gallery like this one!