‘Baby Yoda Cat’ released from Humane Society without consent

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. —

‘Baby Yoda Cat,’ an Internet sensation living at the Humane Society of Rowan County in North Carolina, has been taken without consent, the group said in a long Facebook post.

At the end of December, the cat, whose given name was Joy, caught the attention and hearts of people across the country. The cat’s ears cause her to resemble a popular character often called “Baby Yoda” from the Star Wars Disney+ television show, “The Mandalorian.” 

Now, the Humane Society of Rowan County said Joy was taken without their permission. 

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Joy is no longer in our care. Joy was released without our knowledge or consent to a person claiming ownership,” the HSRC said in a Facebook post.

The woman who claimed ownership has not been named at this time.

Joy was originally found by a volunteer and taken to the Cabarrus Animal Hospital on December 15, and was being treated for a deep wound around her neck and an upper respiratory infection. 

RELATED: Internet goes crazy over ‘Baby Yoda Cat’ in Kannapolis

HSRC had previously said she wouldn’t be available for adoption for a while, due to the ongoing recovery process. 



Humane Society of Rowan County NC, Salisbury, NC. 3,334 likes · 683 talking about this. Dedicated to the care of sick or injured abandoned animals

HSRC said the woman had been posting online for more than a week that the cat belonged to her. They had not been able to verify her claims.

In Facebook updates, HSRC claims the woman spoke with the HSRC president on the phone. The woman was apparently told photos of her cat were similar but different than Joy, whose most prominent feature — the sideways ears — were not a match.

One veterinarian previously caring for Joy told the HSRC  no apparent injury had caused the ears to be pulled sideways. The HSRC believes the ears were always naturally in that state.

The woman repeatedly told HSRC she did not see any injuries on her cat prior to losing the cat, and “that the cat’s ears were on the top of its head when she last saw the cat,” according to HSRC’s Facebook post.

HSRC said the same woman who claimed ownership over Joy had presented the same photos to the Humane Society in June of 2018, claiming a different cat belonged to her. 

The organization was allegedly informed by Cabarrus County Animal Control on December 31 that the woman had been advised she could pursue legal action against HSRC for theft of her animal. WCNC has reached out to Cabarrus County Animal Control, but have not heard back at this time.

HSRC said they spoke with multiple veterinarians to determine why Joy’s ears were on the sides of her head. One veterinarian believed the ears could have moved due to injury. HSRC has since shown photos of Joy to another veterinarian, who doubted the possibility of ears falling in a symmetrical way due to an injury.

baby yoda cat

“Baby Yoda Cat”

Humane Society of Rowan County

Humane Society employees were on their way to pick Joy up from a veterinarian and bring her to another veterinary hospital when organization officials were told Joy would not be released to them. 

After further investigation, HSRC was reportedly told by Cabarrus County Animal Control that Joy was given to the woman who claimed ownership. 

The HSRC claims the woman who has custody of Joy has reportedly asked that the donations that poured in for Joy’s injuries be paid toward any surgeries or follow up treatments.

Since the woman’s identity was not released, WCNC has not been able to verify this claim.

HSRC said with the permission of donors, they will still pay as much as possible of the expenses — adding they are currently legally responsible for $932. A Facebook fundraiser originally made by HSRC has raised over $1,250.

WCNC has reached out to HSRC for further information, but at this point have not heard back.

“Thank you again to everyone who has expressed concern for Joy in any way,” HSRC said in the Facebook post. “She is first and foremost a precious life deserving of love, care and protection.”

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