Cats are fickle creatures and have a very clear way of showing whether or not they like you.
So when this cat decided to follow Justin Walz home last month, it was clear he had made a friend for life.
Walz, a U.S. solider, calls a military base near Constanta, Romania “home” until he returns back to El Paso, Texas at the end of October.
One day the tiny black and white cat stepped out of the bushes while Walz was walking with his soldier friends.
He picked up the friendly feline and gave him a stroke then put him down.
But as the soldiers walked back to the barracks, the cat followed close behind until the door to the barracks closed in front of him.
Stray animals in Romania face brutally uncertain futures.
But this cat was not about to give up that easily.
When soldier Walz woke up early the next morning, the little cat was sitting and waiting outside for him.
“He was there when we woke up, got home from work, and before I went to bed,” Walz explained. “He always tried to walk in after people though. He truly wanted to be an indoor cat.”
This wasn’t the last Walz saw of his new shadow, he even found the moggy curled up in his combat helmet.
Walz lovingly named the cat Salem and found himself worrying about his whereabouts and how the cat would survive once Walz returned to Texas.
The solider knew that stray animals in Romania have tough lives.
“They sleep out in the cold and rain,” Walz says. “Many of them fight each other to survive.”
Salem continued to follow Walz around, so he decided he had to take Salem home – but he knew this would be costly.
The cat needed specific medications and paperwork to be able to leave the country, so Walz set up a GoFundMe Account and shared it across social media with the message of: Let me bring this cat home.
“I wanted to bring him home because Salem brought me and many other soldiers a comfort from home,” Walz says. “The least I can do is give him a place to live and a family.”
As expected, it didn’t take long for the GoFundMe page to get attention, raising over $4000, more than was necessary! Walz was overwhelmed with the response and said he was donate all of the extra funds to organisations that help strays in Romania.
So when Walz leaves his barracks at the end of October, Salem will not be far behind – he is also heading for El Paso.