The internet initially fell in love with Stepan the cat for his sassy and relatable personality.
The European short hair began gaining steam as an internet meme after his owner posted pictures and videos of him showing off his unique posture beside various foodstuffs and cocktails.
Stepan’s unique face and expressions are all a part of his charm, and have contributed to his 1.3 million followers on Instagram to this date.
A cat’s journey
However, Stepan’s usual way of life living in Ukraine was thrown into turmoil as the Russian invasion began.
On February 24, 2022, Stepan’s owner and the owner of the @loveyoustepan account posted a picture of Stepan with a heart, colored in the Ukrainian flag, floating above his head.
The owner of the account also wrote that “Ukraine does not want a war!” and pleaded with their followers to support their message by posting their own pictures with the hashtag #stopwar.
On March 3, 2022, the loveyoustepan account posted a harrowing update on the situation on the ground.
Images and videos of the bombings were posted along with a picture of Stepan looking intently out of a window, along with an update that both the cat and his owner were still alive.
But help was on it’s way. A post made on March 16, 2022, informed followers that Stepan and his owner had made it safely out of Ukraine with the help of The World Association of Influencers.
In the post, the owner writes that the past few weeks had been chaotic.
They explain that since February 24th, they had been forced to leave their home as shelling in the city of Kharkov became too dangerous to stay.
They ended up spending two nights in a shelter before making their way to Poland. A journey that lasted 29 hours in all.
Now, both Stepan and his owner are safe and sound. They made their way through France and settled in Monaco, with a better life filled with opportunities ahead of them.
The account continues to support the end of the war in Ukraine, and hopes to become involved in organizing support for those still on the ground through activism on their page.
Despite these horrible circumstances of a war raging back home, Stepan and his owner are looking to the future while keeping the past close at heart.