Pets are Family, Not Property: Bruno Bartlett

Did you know that under the law pets are seen as replaceable property? That’s right, the law essentially treats losing a pet the same way as losing a table. In honor of Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Loni Edwards’ beloved dog who passed away due to medical error, PetInsider will be featuring a story every Wednesday about pets being family, not property. Please join us by reading the stories and signing the pledge we created with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to push for change


In August of 2018, my now fiancée Jason and I adopted our cat Bruno from Wright-Way Rescue, just outside Chicago, IL.


Bruno has extra toes, stands on his back legs, and was 25 pounds at the time. His story and photos that Wright-Way shared had gone viral due to his #extra nature, and the week leading up to the actual adoption had been a true whirlwind.


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TO COOL TO BE HOMELESS! We're not sure how Bruno hasn't found his forever home yet! He's the COOLEST cat! – Hi, my name is Bruno! I am a 7 year-old polydactyl cat who is 25 pounds. – There's a lot of me to love! I am perfectly healthy other than being overweight. I am on a diet, though. I am walking, playing, and doing tricks like this to lose some weight. – When I am in a normal home, most of my day is spent laying around, but never far from my family. I usually prefer to lay on the floor or right next to you, but occasionally I like to be a lap-cat. I also really like playing with my feather wand toy. Not so much my other toys or scratchers, though. I do like to sleep with my foster parents, but at the end of the bed so you still have room. – I like when you scratch the sides of my face and neck. I like to be pet on the top of my head and spine only. I know my tummy is so tempting to touch, but I would prefer if you didn't. I may swat my hand and pretend to bite if you do. – I like to talk to you….a LOT. Be prepared for a chatty kitty! I have a couple quirky traits too….For one, I like to stand on my hind legs! This usually happens when I want food. No, my foster parents did not teach me this. They are not sure how I learned. – Second, I love to be pet while I eat. It took my foster mom a little time to realize what I was meowing about, since she had just put food in my bowl. Soon she found out it's because I want pets while I eats! I will still eat if you don't pet me, but I will meow more and stare at you for a while…I also drink a lot of water. I never drink the water in the kitchen where my food is. I only drink the water that was put in a completely different room. If you have a larger house, perhaps put multiple bowls of water around for me and be sure to give me fresh water at least once day? Yes, I know I am EXTRA. – Overall, I am a pretty laid back, lazy cat who just wants to be in the presence of my owners. I hear I make them laugh and smile every single day, so I hope I can do the same for you! – I am currently at the Wright-Way Rescue Adoption Center in Morton Grove. You can actually come meet me this weekend, starting tomorrow!

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But by the time we got home with Bruno that night, everything else melted away. I was quickly reminded just how comforting and joyful it is to have a cat in your home. Bruno instantly made himself comfortable, cruising the apartment and flopping on all the furniture as though he’d lived there his entire life. When we got in bed that night (yes, Bruno has slept in our bed every night since he came home), I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. I was just so definitively happy. We were a family.


Bruno brings hundreds of thousands of people joy daily via the world wide web. We’ve received thousands of messages saying his photos: lightened up a tense and worried mood in a hospital waiting room, help people cope with anxiety and depression, and most recently, brought a group solace as they waited in a lockdown situation during the Christchurch shooting. Bruno is so much ‘bigger’ than us.



In our home though, Bruno’s just our little gray furry potato. He makes us laugh, brings us comfort, and greets us at the door daily with the loudest meows you’ve ever heard. We’ve helped him lose over 6 pounds, and now he’s incredibly playful and full of energy.


I may be biased (okay, I am), but Bruno’s the most intelligent animal I’ve ever encountered. He has definitively blessed us and made us a family. So much so, that our love for him inspired us to fly to Vegas in February to rescue another overweight kitty who could pass for Bruno’s twin brother – and yes, Carlo stands too!



These two boys have filled our life with immeasurable joy. Especially given the fact that both are rescues, I strive daily to ensure their life is the fantastic one they so deserve. Bruno was 7 years old when he was given up, and spent 4 months in a shelter. 8-year-old Carlo (the sweetest, most snuggly kitty you’ll ever meet) had been abandoned twice by the time we rescued him. These boys don’t have voices of their own – as their Mom, it is my responsibility to advocate for them. I always will.


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Bruno Bartlett

Lauren Paris is @theebrunobartlett's human - the viral sensation who rose to fame for his #extra ways - standing on his hind legs, having extra toes, and weighing 25 pounds (he's now down to a svelte 19). You can follow Bruno and his new brother Carlo (another chonky gray kitty who stands on his back legs) on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their daily antics and weight loss journey.

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