SEATTLE — Paul is no ordinary cat. He’s a world-famous Instagram star with fans as far away as Brazil, Ireland, and Thailand. And he’s a world-class survivor.
“He’s just tough,” said his owner, Cindy Song.
A few years ago, the rescue cat from Seattle Humane came into the warm embrace of Song’s family, owners of the Wedgwood Mart convenience store. Now he’s known to tens of thousands of followers as “Shop Cat Paul.”
“Everyone just fell in love with him,” Song said.
His human mom posted a few on-the-job pics of the photogenic feline, and the response was the cat’s meow.
“He just has this like sass to him, this attitude,” Song said. “I think it really just draws people in. I’m very surprised and very grateful for the following.”
Whether he’s wearing fashionable glasses or a kitty costume, Paul’s dress-up photos are fan favorites. And when this stage-five loafer cuddled up next to an actual loaf of bread, the resulting photo nearly melted the internet.
“People really think that’s funny because he does look like a loaf,” Song said.
When he’s not loafing, the nature lover enjoys studying creatures in the wild.
“He loves to just sit on the window sill and watch birds, squirrels,” Song said.
The cool cat’s easygoing manner and gentle charm has made him a neighborhood favorite.
“I think it’s just because he’s so funny and makes people smile,” Song said. “He loves seeing his friends at the shop. He gets really excited when they come in, especially the kids.”
When the store was hit with an ugly racist attack during the height of the pandemic, a local artist painted it over with peace, love, and Paul. An image of the cat occupying one of his beloved empty boxes now stands sentry.
“The outpouring of love from the community, that has shocked me beyond words,” Song said.
But Paul’s purrrfect life recently hit a snag.
“I just noticed that he had these bulges on his side.”
He was diagnosed with cancer.
“I’m just heartbroken that he’s sick because he’s everything, my entire world,” Song said.
A family member started a GoFundMe page, and many of Paul’s thousands of fans have pitched in to get him the best care available. The total currently hovers near 20,000 dollars, money that will be used for chemotherapy that could prolong Paul’s life and lessen his discomfort.
“I’m just so, so grateful,” Song said.
No matter how many of his nine lives remain, “Shop Cat Paul” will live them knowing he is very much loved.
“He wants to just thank everyone for all their kindness, and love and support,” Song said. “It really does mean the world to us.”
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