In the summer of 2014, a woman discovered a mysterious feral cat acting strange around her home.
When she took a closer look, she was shocked by the truth.
There wasn’t much time – she had to act quickly or the cat would suffer a terrible fate.
Little did she know, this cat would change her life and thousands of other lives forever…
Keep reading to discover how this mysterious cat’s rescue made him a worldwide sensation.
A Mysterious Guest
It was the summer of 2014 in Little Rock, Arkansas when Moira Maguire suspected she was not alone at her residence.
She would see a flash of something or a sliver of movement out of the corner of her eye.
A mysterious new feral cat had appeared, but he was not ready to make his presence known.
Moira, an experienced cat rescuer and member of FuRR, started leaving food and water on her porch hoping her mysterious new friend would start to trust her.
Sadly, anytime Moira would attempt to come close to him, he would flee.
But Moira was patient. What happened next was something she had never seen in all her years of rescue work…
An Unusual Encounter
Moira had a screened in porch she would often let her inside cats enjoy good weather from.
One day, she heard meowing from outside the porch – meowing that didn’t belong to one of her cats!
She peeked outside and discovered it was the very same feral cat who had been making mysterious appearances.
“There was no scratching or hissing. He just meowed like he was talking to them. It’s almost like he wanted to be part of the club!” Moira shared with National Kitty.
Soon, her mysterious guest was making regular visits to chat with her cats.
As soon as Moira would let her cats in the screened in porch, the feral cat would appear minutes later.
But once again, when Moira would try to approach him, he would take off.
A Shocking Discovery
It was during one of the feral cat’s unusual visits that Moira came up with a plan to get a better look at him.
She went through her back door and crept around her house quietly so he wouldn’t hear her or see her approaching.
And there he was: her mysterious guests’s identity had finally been revealed.
Moira was shocked. She was now able to see he was in terrible condition.
The cat had two large abrasions behind his ears. He was clearly suffering and in desperate need of medical attention.
If he was not treated, his injuries would become infected and he would die.
It was then that she called Susan, another member of FuRR, and decided they would trap him.
He Has Toes!
Moira set up a humane trap and the mysterious cat entered the trap with ease.
It was here that Moira noticed something unusual about this cat.
Most feral cats panic when they are trapped. They hiss, yowl, and slam their bodies against the trap in an attempt to escape.
However, this cat did none of those things – he sat calmly in the trap without a single sign of discomfort.
Because of how calm he was, Moira was able to get an even better look at him.
She made another shocking discovery – he had a beautiful set of BIG extra toes!
He had seven toes on each of his front paws, 6 toes on one of his back paws, and 5 toes on the other back paw. That’s a total of 25 toes!
Having Second thoughts
The cat went to the vet and was treated for his injuries, neutered, and vaccinated.
He was determined to be roughly 2-3 years old.
He returned from the vet where he would stay in the trap overnight while he recovered from the anesthesia.
At first, Moira had planned to give him the same treatment as the other TNR (trap, neuter, return) cats she had rescued.
After he was neutered and treated for his injuries, Moira planned on releasing him back into the neighborhood where he would continue to be fed.
However, this all changed when Moira peeked into the trap and saw the look on his face…
A Gentle Soul
The look on his face was enough to bring even the most calloused hearts to tears.
“It was almost as if he was saying ‘Please don’t put me back out there. Please let me stay inside.’ The look on his face was heartbreaking,” Moira shared.
Moira lifted the back panel of the trap and began to pet him with a towel wrapped around her hand in case he became aggressive.
“There was no aggression, there was no hissing. I removed the towel and started petting him with my bare hand. Still, he was as calm as ever!” Moira told National Kitty.
Moira knew there was a special spark here and she was determined to follow it.
It was time for this sweet cat to be named. From then on, he was called Buster!
Destined for Love
Moira moved Buster from the screened in porch to her spare bedroom where she would watch him closely for the next few days.
He would hide, but never tried to hiss or bite when Moira took him out of his hiding places.
“Within a week, he was just like any other tamed cat. He didn’t act feral at all. It was incredible!” Moira exclaimed.
At first, Moira had no intention of keeping him.
She wanted to socialize him so he could be adopted and have a better life with a family of his own.
A Gut Feeling
Buster had become very popular online. Everyone who saw him fell in love with his gentle gaze and mitten toes.
One couple in particular was serious about adopting Buster. Moira and Susan agreed that they would be a great family for him.
When they arrived at Buster’s new home, Moira had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right.
Something in her heart told her Buster wouldn’t be safe there.
The memory of his pitiful face from when she brought him home from the vet flashed into her mind.
She couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to him after all that he’d been through.
Moira followed her heart and politely told the couple her concerns.
They were upset, but they were understanding and agreed it would be best if Buster stayed with Moira.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Moira and Susan ended up being right about their gut feeling. The couple later revealed they had some serious problems.
If Moira had let the couple adopt Buster, it would have been a disaster. Always listen to your gut!
And just like that, Moira was Buster’s new mom. She knew he would be the safest and most comfortable with her.
Moira often thinks about how close she was to losing Buster.
Making the last minute decision to keep him changed both her and Buster’s life forever!
Fast forward to April of 2017. Moira and her cats had moved from Little Rock, Arkansas to Schenectady, New York earlier that year.
Buster had enjoyed 3 wonderful years with his new family. With each passing day, his bond with Moira grew stronger and stronger.
Buster had blossomed into a loyal companion. Wherever Moira went, Buster followed.
On April 9, 2015, Moira decided to take turns letting the cats enjoy the good weather on a full-body harness and leash.
Things took a turn for the worse when Buster was exploring a rose bush and became tangled in it.
When Moira reached down to help him, he panicked even more.
“The thing about Buster was that even though he was socialized, he still had moments of ‘feralness’. If he got freaked out, he would run and hide,” Moira explained.
Buster was in full panic mode.
He started pulling on the harness harder and harder and until suddenly, he broke free.
Moira panicked. She opened the door to the porch hoping he would run inside.
Instead, he jumped over the fence and took off running.
The Darkest Times
Moira was utterly devastated.
Buster had fled and she was left with a gut wrenching feeling of emptiness.
Moira spent the next 65 days franticly searching for him.
She put up flyers, spoke with every single neighbor, and walked around the neighborhood each day hoping she could find him.
With the help of a lost & found pet rescue expert, Moira set up trail cameras and traps to find Buster.
To her surprise, Buster was spotted on the trail cameras. He would only come out at night and was nowhere to be seen during the day.
For two months, Buster was seen on the cameras but would not enter the traps or return home.
Moira began to grow more frustrated and anxious.
In June, Moira ended up moving the trail cameras to a new location.
The cameras spotted an orange cat with extra toes appearing at the new location.
With newfound hope, Moira set up a trap and patiently waited.
It was a success! The cameras showed a closed trap.
Moira rushed to the trap’s location. However, she was met with great disappointment.
What stood in front of her was a beautiful orange polydactyl cat that was NOT Buster…
Moira was devastated. She felt even worse than when he had first ran away. Her hope was shattered.
“For a week, I had been following this cat on the camera and all this time, it wasn’t Buster!” Moira exclaimed.
It was difficult to determine specific features on the infrared trail camera, especially at night.
The odds of finding another orange polydactyl cat were incredibly slim, but somehow it happened.
“At that point I thought, ‘All these pictures I thought were Buster were not Buster. And now I have no idea where Buster is.’ After all the progress I thought I made, I felt like I was starting back from 0” Moira shared.
A Hopeful Lead
On the same day Moira trapped the imposter cat, a woman who lived one street over messaged her with news.
The woman claimed that they had spotted a cat in her yard that she believed was Buster.
Leading up to this, Moira was convinced the cat she saw on the trail camera was Buster.
After she realized the cat she trapped was not Buster, she contacted the woman the next day.
Moira showed the woman and her friend several pictures of Buster hoping they had not confused him with the cat she had trapped the night before.
The two women looked back and forth at each other with astonishment.
They told Moira they were absolutely certain that was the cat they spotted earlier.
Moira was hopeful yet again. She moved the cameras to the area facing the woman’s yard.
Four days later, Moira checked the cameras and looked at the image with disbelief.
This time, the image showed her something new that made her certain the cat pictured was Buster.
Buster was unique because unlike most polydactyl cats, he also had extra toes on his back paws.
The cat in the picture had extra back toes. It must be Buster!
Moira frantically texted the woman to tell her Buster was in her yard.
But the woman was already on the case. She had been sitting outside with friends watching the cat.
The woman texted back pictures of the cat, and sure enough, it was definitely Buster!
Rushing to the Rescue
Moira rushed to the woman’s house and saw Buster with her own eyes.
He was no longer healthy and plump like he was when he lived with Moira.
Instead, he looked more like he did when Moira first rescued him.
His was malnourished and his beautiful orange coat was now rough and dirty.
His eyes were red and crusted – it was obvious he had been living a rough life on the streets.
There was a big problem though. Buster had reverted back to being feral after months of living in the wild.
When Moira called his name, he would not come running to her like he used to.
Moira had a plan to trap Buster the next day.
As much as it killed her to leave that night, she returned the next day with a trap and fried chicken to lure him into it.
Moira and the women sat in the yard for several hours waiting for Buster to return.
Sure enough, Buster returned!
However, he would not enter the traps despite how hungry he was.
“Who Wants Treats!”
Then, Moira had an idea.
She shook a bag of treats while saying, “Who wants treats!”
This had always caught Buster’s attention when he lived at home.
It worked! Buster came flying through the walkway toward Moira.
However, he would not come in direct contact with Moira. He stopped 3 feet in front of her.
Buster would inch closer and run away. This went on for an hour that seemed like eternity to Moira.
A Beautiful Reunion
Finally, Buster got close enough to one of the women Moira was with for her to quickly grab Buster and put him in a carrier.
They ran into the kitchen and closed all the doors to other rooms.
Now was the moment of truth.
Moira opened the carrier. Within two minutes, Buster was curled up in her lap purring.
Moira recalls, “He knew he was home. He knew his mama had finally come to get him.”
Buster returned home with his mom and was reunited with his cat siblings who welcomed him with kisses and cuddles.
June 14 is formally known as BusterBack Day.
On this special day, Buster fans everywhere celebrate his safe return and beautiful reunion.
Moira was overwhelmed by the kindness and support she received from Buster’s fans online.
When Buster was missing, people all over the world were waiting with baited breath for Buster to return.
Buster had started a global movement. People would light candles and send prayers for Buster to be reunited with his family.
Buster has sparked hope to cat owners all over the world that they, too, can be reunited with their babies.
Buster – A Fashion Icon
Buster now spends his days comfortably lounging around the house and stealing the hearts of everyone who sees him.
“Buster really is the most zen cat. Nothing fazes him. Even to this day, I’ve never heard him hiss, scratch, growl, or show any aggression.”
Along with his gentle gaze and mitten-like paws, Buster is a fashion icon.
Wearing stylish clothes is something Buster is famous for.
Unlike other cats, Buster loves wearing clothes.
Moira speculates it might be because he likes the sensation of being swaddled.
Moira is the dean of a college and Buster is an honorary faculty member.
He never fails to dress professionally for online faculty meetings.
Buster can be spotted sporting a tie or bowtie while sitting alongside Moira during meetings.
Between napping and snacking, Buster is a busy man. The faculty is simply honored he makes time to join their meetings.
Buster receives several emails thanking him for boosting morale while everyone works from home!
When Buster isn’t at “work”, he likes to dress casually and relax.
He likes T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, hats, and more.
He especially likes to wear clothes that represent his favorite sports teams, the Bruins and Red Sox.
Buster sure is one handsome cat!
Be sure to follow Buster’s personal Facebook page to keep up with all of his latest looks.
Buster Brings Peace & Joy
Moira has made several friends, both online and in person, because of Buster.
There’s something special about Buster that elicits emotion from people who have never even met him.
In fact, Buster brought joy and comfort to one fan in particular in who was in hospice.
The man had one simple request as he neared death: to see Buster and enjoy his virtual company.
Buster and Moira would video chat with the man and see his face light up with joy upon seeing Buster.
On the day his special friend died, Buster received a packaged of treats and toys from him as a final gift.
Buster is an official representative of FuRR (Feline Rescue & Rehome).
By sharing Buster’s story, Moira and other members of FuRR hope to inspire people to become active in cat rescue.
Had it not been for FuRR, Buster would have been another feral cat suffering on the streets.
Instead, he thrives with Moira and has touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world.
FuRR’s mission is to rescue cats that have been abused, abandoned, or surrendered to shelters for euthanasia.
FuRR actively promotes and practices TNR (trap, neuter, return) to control overpopulation and improve the quality of feral cat lives.
They work hard to provide loving care, medical attention, and socialization to cats in need.
Their mission is to place all adoptable cats in loving homes.
As we have learned from Buster’s story, one of those feral cats may very well become someone’s lifelong companion.
Please consider donating to FuRR. Any amount, no matter how small, will help save a cat’s life.
FuRR is a 501c3 nonprofit. Every cent goes toward food, supplies, and facilitating the medical care of the rescue cats.
Their life saving missions are powered by selfless volunteers.
Please follow FuRR on Facebook to see more of Buster and all of their incredible rescue cats.
Whether its donating, volunteering, or simply sharing their content on Facebook, everyone can do their part to join FuRR and advocate lifesaving missions for cats.
In November of 2020, Moira Maguire suddenly passed, leaving Buster, Harry, and Huck heartbroken without their mom.
Along with the cats, Moira’s friends and family were devastated by the great loss.
However, they were committed to doing what Moira would have wanted– giving her cats the life they deserved.
“These cats were her soul mate babies. They were her entire world,” said Susan Loesch, Moira’s close friend of many years.
The three boys grieved the loss of their mother and the beautiful life they shared.
They were were understandably traumatized by all the commotion that followed their mom’s passing.
Moira’s friends worked diligently to make sure the cats were surrounded by familiar faces and followed the same daily routine.
“These familiar people and familiar routine helped stabilize them and make a huge difference,” said Susan.
Everyone collaborated to ensure the cats were carefully transported somewhere they’d be given the quality of care their mom would have given them.
“The question everyone asked was if we were going to separate the cats. I said ‘No!” The three of them are a bonded trio and Moira would have never wanted them separated,” said Susan.
Susan arranged for Royal Paws Pet Transportation to take the boys to Arkansas where they’d find themselves many hours later in the comfort of a loving new home.
Once they were loaded up in their carriers, they were taken to the transport vehicle where they were allowed to move freely in a larger kennel stocked with their own beds and litter boxes.
To make the boys feel more at ease, they were provided with comfort items like their favorite toys and Moira’s famous Red Sox blanket.
“Our goal was to do everything for those boys exactly the way Moira would have wanted it done,” said Susan.
After a long journey from Easthampton to Arkansas, Buster, Huck, and Harry were met with warm hugs from their new parents, Stacy and Johnny.
The couple was close friends with Moira and knew how much her babies meant to her.
“When I originally called Stacy to tell her the news of Moira’s passing, the first words out of her mouth were ‘we’ll take the boys’. There was no hesitation,” Susan recalled.
The couple gladly volunteered to take all three of them in as their own.
Newly arrived Buster still clutched his mom’s pillowcase.
Thanks to Stacy and Johnny, it didn’t take long for the cats to feel comfortable in a new home.
“They have a wonderful home with plenty of room to play and a family that is home to spend time with them. They’re living the best life they can live,” said Susan.
They made the boys feel safe and secure from day one, showing them endless love and patience.
“They’ve adjusted so well to their new life. It surprised me how much they’ve become daddy’s boys!” said Susan.
As for Buster, he still loves sporting clothes for his fans!
He happily surveys his new kingdom with a few of his favorite toys from the old one: his banana bed, pizza toy, and mom’s favorite Red Sox Blanket.
His new parents proudly placed a sign that reads “Buster’s House” on the front window of his new home for everyone to see.
Buster, Huck, and Harry have adjusted beautifully to their new home, which is a testament to how well Moira raised them and the incredible care Stacy and Johnny provided.
“I think Moira is smiling at how much her boys are loved. It’s exactly what she would have wanted,” said Susan.