Everyone has the potential within themselves to be a superhero to somebody. For five-year-old Shon Griffin, he takes this responsibility seriously. And literally.
Shon has garnered a reputation for himself and his antics around town, dressing up as various comic book heroes and putting a hearty meal in the stomach of as many stray cats as he sees.
According to his aunt Kris Papiernik, she first recognized his unique ability to connect with cats when he was three years old. Papiernik and her fiancé Kia Griffin run a local cat rescue called Kolony Kats, and Shon had a gift unlike anything they’d seen before.
“We call him Catman,” Papiernik said of her feline fascinated nephew.
Like most superheroes, Papiernik and Griffin spotted Shon’s outstanding talents at a young age.
After spotting two feral cats at the end of the driveway, efforts were made to win their trust. The two cats were named Lady and Bug, and Papiernik started feeding them and attempting to bring them back to a healthy weight.
Eventually, Lady allowed herself to be trapped, and she was taken to the vet for a thorough once over. Papiernik had Lady spayed, gave her all of her shots, and released her back to her home in the outside world.
Eventually more cats started to hang around their residence, all of which were spayed or neutered, given updated shots, and ear tipped. The only one they were never able to get their hands on was Bug. The cat was too wary to trust anyone, and anytime she was approached, she would take off running.
That was, until “Catman” arrived.
“Bug came right over to Shon, rubbed against his legs and allowed him to pet him,” Griffin said.
Bug was different from that day forward; he was neutered and got all of the vaccinations he needed to live a healthy life. Bug has now become one of the friendliest cats under their care.
And Catman was born.
Shon appears to have a genuine gift for connecting and making new feline friends, and he always jumps at the opportunity to help his aunt at Kolony Kats. With 45 cats spread across four locations in Philadelphia, there is no shortage of kittens for him to watch over.
“His favorite thing to do is give them treats. He knows how to dish out the dry food, fill up the water bowls without any directions from us,” Papiernik said.
Any cats that will allow Shon to approach them will inevitably be showered with love and affection. And when he isn’t volunteering at Kolony Kats, the cats back home get all the attention they can handle.
“When he is home with us, the indoor kitties get lots of love, affection and playtime from Shon. They sleep with him and wake him up with kisses. He truly loves them, and they love him back just as much.” Griffin told ABC News.
Shon is still too young to help with distributing canned food or administering medications. But give it time—considering his enthusiasm and interest, he’ll be running the place in no time.