TikTok Influencer Rages At Shelter In Video About Adoption Fee

I don’t advocate criminality, but if some enterprising, preternaturally skilled hacker were to go Tyler Durden on TikTok and not just disable it for a few hours with a DDoS attack, but nuke it to oblivion by taking down its servers, backups and back-end code, that hacker would be a hero.

Songs would be written for this legend of a human being, performed to raucous applause by bards in taverns. A reincarnated Abraham Lincoln would lead a parade of patriots to the White House to wrap the benevolent hacker in the American flag and present the presidential Medal of Freedom. A bald eagle would alight on a Rose Garden cherry tree, raising a wing in salute to our hero, and fireworks would inaugurate a new federal holiday in honor of the glorious deed and its magnificent author.

But that’s not going to happen, so I have to type the words “TikTok influencer” and try not to gag as I relate the story of one Chloe Mitchell, a Michigan college student who sicced her army of three million followers on a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter.

Mitchell is one of those people who makes you wish life had mute buttons. She tells her side of the story with theatric facial expressions, frequently screaming — literally screaming — into the camera as she claims she fell in love with a cat at Michigan’s Noah Project and didn’t balk at the $900 adoption fee.



Replying to @lacedupcloset I CANNOT LEAVE HER THERE…but $900!!? #cat #foryou #rescue #dogperson #fypシ #pov

♬ original sound – chloe

She says she’s happy with her cat, Puka, and loves her. But she still has adopter’s remorse.

“I spent $900 on a fuzzy scratch ball that’s going to puke all over my furniture,” she says at one point in a video she made after the adoption.

She bemoans the adoption fee, saying the cat costs “two thirds of a Yorkie” and a quarter the price of a new Louis Vuitton bag.

“Why isn’t there a price tag on her cage?” Mitchell screams. “Why can’t she be a $25 cat? … That’s life changing money, $900. I could just not eat.”

Mitchell’s followers, who called the shelter operators “scammers” and said they “played” Mitchell, among less charitable comments, have been targeting the shelter online and by phone, making “profanity-laced calls,” according to MLive.

Mitchell says the shelter told her the adoption fee was so high because Puka is an F5 Savannah, a fifth-generation hybrid of a domestic cat and an African serval. In her video she admits she doesn’t know what a Savannah is and confuses a tabby coat pattern for a breed.

But Mashele Garrett-Arndt, Noah Project’s director, told MLive the adoption fee reflected the substantial costs the shelter incurred by rescuing Puka, her litter mates and kittens from the other litters she came with, who had multiple medical issues. The shelter paid for veterinary surgery, including procedures for one cat who had two legs amputated, as well as shots, microchips, spaying/neutering, and special diets for the ailing kitties.

Puka, originally named Heart by the shelter. Credit: Noah Project

The Noah Project took in the young cats and their mothers from a woman who purchased the momma cats from a breeder. The mother cats went into heat again, predictably, and the problem multiplied litter by litter until the woman realized it was out of her ability to control and passed the problem along to the shelter.

The Noah Project took the mother cats and kittens, like any good rescue would, but an intake like that would stretch the resources of most shelters, let alone a small local operation. (See the appeals for assistance when larger organizations like the SPCA take in cats from hoarding situations, for example.) That this happened on the cusp of kitten season makes it even more difficult.

Since adopting Puka — and making a video in which she goes back and forth between saying she already adopted her and claiming she was thinking of adopting her — Mitchell has made at least half a dozen additional monetized videos about “the $900 cat,” including one in which she introduced her parents to their “$900 grandfurchild” and another in which she seemingly pretends to be on the phone with someone from the shelter, lecturing them about “taking advantage” of people and “profiting” off them. In the video, she does not pause long enough for the alleged person on the other end to speak.

“I’m so mad about this because she’s not only lying about this story but she’s making a profit off this,” Garret-Arndt said. “These cats came from an older woman in her 80s who bought these cats and overbred and couldn’t handle the situation. They all had medical issues and that’s the reason they were $900.”

Garret-Arndt told MLive her books are open for Mitchell and anyone else to inspect. In addition, the IRS 990 forms of non-profits are available via sites like Guidestar, allowing donors to check information like percentage of revenue spent on programs, meaning the amount that goes to the charitable cause after overhead.

Mitchell’s series of videos on her “$900 cat” saga had amassed almost 30 million combined views as of March 24

Mitchell isn’t hurting for cash despite her claim that she might have to go without eating after adopting her “$900 cat.” As a college volleyball player, she’s known as the first NCAA athlete to profit financially from NIL (name and image likeness), co-founded a company for other athletes looking to capitalize on NIL, and says she paid for Puka with money she made from the TikTok Creator’s Fund. In addition, she’s bragged about her many sponsorships.

An earlier story about Mitchell’s earnings said that in addition to the money she earns directly from the NCAA NIL deal, “five-figure deals are her baseline” for sponsorships.

Mitchell earns up to $20,000 per sponsored post, the story notes — and that was in 2021, when her follower count wasn’t as high. That’s an extraordinary amount of money for anyone, let alone a college kid, and doesn’t match up with her video pleading poverty over an adoption fee.

With 3 million followers, Mitchell could earn as much as $15,000 a month directly from TikTok alone, not including the lucrative sponsorships. Her initial post about the saga of her “$900 cat” registered almost six million views, some 28,000 comments and more than 660,000 likes. In all, her series of videos on the cat saga have amassed almost 30 million views. Most creators can only dream of those engagement numbers and the revenue associated with them.

In other words, Mitchell is not the typical college student working a part-time job in between classes and eating Ramen noodles to stretch her budget, and it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say she’s punching down by picking a fight with a small local rescue.

“I feel like she (Mitchell) got that cat as a stunt for her followers,” Garret-Arndt said. “She specifically asked for that cat. We were told she was an African Savannah cat but we don’t know.”

To her credit, Mitchell does seem taken with Puka, and we hope she cherishes the beautiful kitten regardless of whether she’s got serval lineage or is just a “basic” cat. Every cat is worthy of love and deserves a good home, and it appears Mitchell is doting on Puka, buying her lots of toys and cat furniture and cuddling with her.

Take it from me, loyal servant to a “basic” no-breed kitty: what’s important is the bond you form and the memories you make together, not the rarity of the breed. I wouldn’t part with Bud for $900,000, let alone $900.

In the meantime, the Noah Project continues to take abuse from the “influencer’s” followers, “swearing at us and calling us a horrible organization,” Garret-Arndt said.

“We don’t scam people,” she told MLive. “If they want to see my books and what I paid for medical, they can.”

She said the Noah Project is a small organization that focuses on making sure cats go to good homes instead of ending up in kill shelters where they’re likely to be euthanized.

“All of our animals leave here fixed and with all of their shots and preventatives, as well as being microchipped,” she wrote in a Facebook post in response to the manufactured controversy. “This all-costs money. No one is making a profit here, everything goes back into the shelter for medical supplies, food, etc.”

Mitchell says she’s ordered a DNA test for Puka and plans to do a reveal on TikTok, providing more material for more monetized videos in her ongoing saga of “the $900 cat.” She says she’ll “defend” the shelter to her followers if the DNA test does reveal serval lineage, but the damage has already been done, and we can’t help but wonder if she’ll be willing to offer a meal culpa after quadrupling down on claims that the shelter ripped her off.

15 thoughts on “TikTok Influencer Rages At Shelter In Video About Adoption Fee”

  1. I can’t write what is going through my mind about this b#&@#!!!! So sick of these people. Thank you for keeping me informed on various things…. and the cute post’s from Captain Buddy. Have a wonderful Caterday 😊😸😸😸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I miss the internet of the 90s and early/mid aughts, when social media didn’t exist or was in its infancy, and people generally gathered on non-corporate sites organized around shared interests. There was a much stronger sense of community and users were much less toxic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Social media brings out the worst in so many … of course the worst was already in them but now it’s on display for the entire world to see.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed, and studies back that up. It’s easy to lose sight of the human beings on the other side when communicating online, and it’s so much worse when algorithms amplify negativity, drama, histrionics and arguments.


  2. RED FLAG! This vile creature, as i will not use curse words, would NEVER get a cat from rescue groups i know. Our adoption fees are under $200. A BARGAIN since we at times used our money for medical issues, etc. Years ago i paid for street cat to have some bad teeth removed. She could of looked elsewhere instead of raving like a lunatic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The shelter normally charges a $150 adoption fee, but obviously this is an unusual case and would be a major strain on the resources of any shelter or rescue organization.

      I feel for the people who run the shelter, since no one gets into rescuing cats to make money. It’s the opposite, a drain on time and cash, and people do it because they love animals.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Miss Mitchell is a complete waste of space! How utterly crude, rude & unnecessary! If the Shelter see her posts I bet they will wish they never adopted Puka to her!! Servals are not cheap. PERIOD!
    I feel sorry for poor Puka…is he/she even getting proper basic care?
    **fuming** BellaSita Mum an **growlss** BellaDharma

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And why is a serval in a shelter? I know. Because purebreds not considered perfect are given up.BREEDING OF CATS AND DOGS MUST STOP. Shelters have purebred cats and dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I could be wrong, but it looks like the cat does have serval lineage despite what Mitchell’s followers say. The ears look very much like a hybrid’s ears. If she’s F5, she would not necessarily retain the spotted coat pattern.

      But it shouldn’t matter anyway if she loves the cat.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. She should not run a shelter.

    Tux and are back after a seven week hospitalization for limb threatening sepsis. He complained to the babysitter and to all who would listen that I was gone! However, I am clearly no longer one of the cool kids! He is quite aloof

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what happens with our feline overlords after absences. They make a big show of being all “Oh. You were gone? I hardly noticed” and then eventually they forget they’re supposed to be mad at you and return to purring and head bunting.

      Are you okay now, Julie? Anything that puts you in the hospital for seven weeks is damn serious, and sepsis is no joke. Bud and I hope you’re feeling better, and Bud recommends turkey soup for any and all ailments.


      1. I never thought of this happening after slipping on the ice. And getting an. Elbow abrasion. Should be no big deal right? I think I have good doctors and my spouse and son are wonderful help.. I had a battle with being allowed to go home . I wish there was some cautionary tale here. I will take Buddy’s turkey advice!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sheesh. Maybe there was some contaminant in the ice? When stuff like this happens, it makes you realize how fragile we are. I’m glad your husband and son took care of you, and I hope Mr. Tux gets over his salty response soon and cuddles up with you, providing the healing powers of his kitty purr.


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