A CT shelter's cross-eyed cat has stolen the hearts of millions of TikTok users

Photo of Abby Weiss

A New Milford animal shelter’s cross-eyed cat has stolen the hearts of millions of TikTokers.

Last week, The Animal Welfare Society posted a video on TikTok of their white and tabby gray cat named Benjamin Franklin. The eight-second video has accumulated 10.5 million views and 1.7 million likes.

The video shows Benjamin Franklin looking at the camera with the on-screen text “POV: You’re walking through the shelter and we make eye contact.” The caption describes the cat as “a little moody” but says he has the “cutest face.”

“The audible gasp from adoring sadness from this one. I hope he finds his forever home,” one user commented. “I feel like this cat has human eyes and a soul,” another said.

@animalwelfaresoctynm_ct Ben Franklin can be a little moody, but this cross eyed kitty has the cutest face! 😻 #bejaminfranklin #crosseyed #sheltercat #adoptme ♬ Up by Olly murs. - ?’? Havy ?’?

The 6-year-old neutered tabby arrived at The Animal Welfare Society in June 2021 and has yet to be adopted, Kelly, a shelter attendant, said. Of the shelter's 93 rescues, he is the only cross-eyed animal, she said. 

Since the video went viral, adoption applications for Benjamin have come from all over the United States and from countries like Germany, France and Canada. Kelly said it's unusual for the shelter to receive that many applications outside the tri-state area. 

“We know he was closely bonded with his elderly owner so we are hopeful that once he had enough time to settle into a new home he would come around and show his real personality. And who can resist the crossed eyes!?” the shelter's website says.

The cat also had bladder stones removed and is on a urinary diet, according to the website.

The Animal Welfare Society was founded in 1965 and built its New Milford shelter in 1991. The organization rescues dogs and cats from local communities in Connecticut and from high-kill facilities outside of the state, according to its website. Some are turned over because their owners have died or cannot take care of them anymore. Others were previously strays and were abandoned.

“From the moment they enter our shelter, these animals receive loving care,” the website says.

The organization has been on TikTok since June 2019 and has garnered over 40,000 followers.