This is Mason.
Mason is an "ancient, battle-scarred" feral cat that was taken in as part of a local TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program. Mason was rescued from his life on the streets by Tinykittens, a nonprofit organization in British Columbia.
His battle-worn appearance, permanent scowl and old, tattered ears speak to a harsh life spent on the streets. Upon further examination, Mason was found to have a severely infected paw, abscesses in his teeth, and advanced kidney disease, which, unfortunately, means Grandpa Mason may have months, not years, to live.
"Instead of euthanasia, we felt he deserved to live his sunset months in comfort, free from pain," writes Tinykittens on their Facebook page.
Mason was the definition of feral; Any attempt to pet him was met with the only response a feral cat knows, fear and aggression.
But thanks to Tinykittens and their team of caring foster parents, Mason, who would likely have been euthanized at a shelter, has begun adjusting to a life inside his forever foster home.
But that's not what makes this cantankerous grandcat's story so very remarkable. When his rescuers introduced him to a litter of foster kittens in need of some paws-on TLC, they never expected Mason to react the way he did.
He seems to have fallen in love with the kittens, sweetly cuddling up to them and protecting them from danger. Watch Grandpa Mason's big, protective paw wrap around tiny Scrammy to keep him safe from the big, yellow "sky snake."
The kittens bring a more youthful, energetic side out in the cantankerous old tabby, who will live out his sunset months in a loving, happy environment. (I keep waiting for him to chase the kittens and yell, "Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!")
This article was first published in May of 2017. As of October 25th, according to some adorable videos on TinyKittens' Twitter, Grandpa Mason and his kittens are still as cuddly as ever.
Though Grandpa Mason is still living with terminal kidney disease and there is no certainty how long he will continue to thrive, Grandpa Mason has really been a lifesaver for the kittens of TinyKittens - and all the other homeless or feral cats out there on the streets.
According to TinyKittens' case study on Mason, the only way to solve the issue of cat overpopulation is to change the perception of homeless and feral cats. "Mason has introduced millions of people to feral cats, proving they are worthy of compassion and that they have value -- even if they are old, broken "lost causes"."
"The more we show that these invisible, unwanted cats have value, the closer we get to a society where spaying and neutering is the rule, rather than the exception."
Grandpa Mason thinks there is much to teach this impudent Bean Bunny 😄 pic.twitter.com/guegB3OUyD— TinyKittens HQ (@tinykittensHQ) October 25, 2017
You can continue to follow Grandpa Mason's story and even watch LIVE videos of Mason playing and caring for his foster kittens on Facebook.