5-year-old ‘Catman’ saves Philadelphia strays

PHILADELPHIA (ABC) — A 5-year-old boy has become a superhero to felines on the streets in Philadelphia.

He even wears superhero costumes when he’s on his missions.

“We call him ‘Catman,'” his aunt Kris Papiernik said of her nephew Shon Griffin. She and her fiancee, Kia Griffin, have been involved with cat rescues and fosters for a decade.

They realized Shon had a gift for connecting with cats when he was 3.

“It all started when we spotted two feral kittens we named Lady and Bug behind a row of houses in a driveway,” Griffin told ABC News.

These cats would come to be known as the Kolony Kats.

“We started feeding them and [were] able to trap Lady with no problem. We had her spayed, [gave her] shots and released her back outside to her home,” Griffin explained. “Bug eluded the trap and any close contact with us for two years. Other cats showed up and started hanging out with Lady and Bug. We had all of the cats spayed [or] neutered, given shots and ear tipped, except for Bug.”

“Nothing we tried worked,” Papiernik said — nothing except Catman.

When his aunts decided to let Shon help out, “[The cats] took to him right away,” Griffin said. “Bug came right over to Shon, rubbed against his legs and allowed him to pet him.”

From that day on, Bug was changed. He was neutered and got the necessary vaccinations. And he’s become one of the friendliest cats in the colony.

Shon visits his aunts regularly and helps look after the 45 cats now under their care at four locations in the city.

“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.

Shon never leaves without giving the friendly cats head and chin scratches, she said.

Griffin said, “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.”

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