A black cat's stay at the greater Bluffton Home Depot has been extended indefinitely.
Depot, a feral cat who has lived at the store for 13 years, can remain in her home as long as she likes, a spokesperson for the home-improvement chain said Wednesday.
"Unless someone can provide her a better home, she can stay," Catherine Woodling, the spokesperson, said.
The cat has been a fixture in the store's lawn and garden center for more than a decade, according to customers.
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But the store recently started shopping around for someone to take Depot off its hands. Apparently, the aging cat was tripping security alarms at night, Woodling said.
Daniel Goodell said that when he heard about the store's desire to evict the cat, he decided to take a stand.
A Margaretville, N.Y., resident who vacations in the area, Goodell started an online petition about a week ago to ensure the cat stays put.
"I've always liked having the cat in the store when I visit," the said. "It was always friendly. The gist of it is, would you want to be yanked out of your home where you've lived your whole life?"
Signatures flowed in as Depot's story made its way around the Internet, landing on the New York Daily News' website earlier in the week. As of Wednesday evening, Goodell's petition has received more than 1,150 signatures.
Some signers offered to adopt Depot. Others were outraged and threatened to boycott the retailer.
"It really took on a life of it's own," said Goodell, 46. "I've had people contact me from around the globe. A doctor in Germany offered to adopt the cat at his own expense."
"I guess it speaks to the power of the Internet," he added.
Woodling, the Home Depot representative, said other groups have contacted the company about the cat. She said the Palmetto Animal League offered to give the cat a health exam and provide it with vaccines if necessary.
Though Depot's lease at the store has no expiration date, Woodling did say the retailer would like to find a "healthier, safer environment for the cat," as it reaches old age.