Inside Columbia


Cutest Pets Contest 2024 Winners

By Inside Columbia
pets morty

Photos by L.G. Patterson

You sent in pictures and voted … and the winners are finally here!

We asked for this year’s cutest pets in Columbia, and you did not disappoint! With a high record of submissions, we didn’t know who would come out on top. This was the first year we had a wallaby (in a diaper, no less!) and a Clydesdale horse submitted. We saw dogs who love to smile and dogs with rolls, rescue cats and cats with bows. The community voted for the cutest, but really, this is a testament to you as owners who know your pet is family.

In the following pages, without further ado, here are the cutest of the cute. This year’s 2024 Cutest Pets.

best pets cooper


Category | Furry Felines

Cooper was stolen … well, kind of. One summer day, Cooper, a man of curiosity, found himself at the doorstep of the Roush family and continued showing up for weeks. After a vet visit and a collar with the Roush’s phone number, Cooper’s owner called and told them Cooper needed a solo home of his own after living unhappily with two other cats. She offered Cooper to the Roush’s, and they immediately said yes. “Sometimes he shows up at the neighbor’s doorstep, and he makes friends down the street, but he always finds his way back home.”

Though he doesn’t speak in meows, the family knows that “Cooper doesn’t want anyone to know that he is a cat.” With a new toy, he gets embarrassed by his loss of control after a few minutes of playing. Also, everything is on his terms, including when he’s ready for love and pets. However, “his loud purr is like a motor and gives him away.”

best pets trinity


Category | Compact Canines

Trinity started her career as a show dog, taking first place in four competitions before finding her forever home with Katie Keaveny. “TinTin” as she is affectionately called by Keaveny is “the definition of a true companion.” Keaveny says, “She is so spontaneous, loving, adventurous, goofy and very affectionate.”

A friend of Keaveny’s dropped Trinity off with her for pup-sitting one weekend and the rest was history. “The moment both Trinity and I locked eyes, we instantly fell in love,” she says. “She would not leave my side that entire weekend.”

Now basking in retirement, Trinity still loves to live the glamorous life with bows and outfits, many times looking to stand out in bright pink. She truly lives the life of luxury with having not only one, but four beds to call her own.

pets morty


Cateogry | Pet-icularly Unique Pets

Though he may be small, Morty is a mighty fast run- ner, especially when he’s wearing one of his hats. He “is committed to his fitness regimen, making sure to get his three counterclockwise laps around his log be- fore bed,” says owner Tyler Bauer. Born in San Diego, California, Morty knows the salt life well for a one- year-old Hermann’s tortoise, loving the sun(spots), sand in his toes, Bob Dylan and romaine lettuce.

He also is a big supporter of politics, specifically animal rights and Sarah McLachlan. Morty’s pet cat — yes, his, not Tyler’s — is named Gypsy, and they are best friends. Additionally, “Morty spends a lot of his free time watching the Ninja Turtles and trying on new hats he gets from family, friends and fans,” she says. As a supporter of voting rights, he reminds everyone that “your vote matters,” as he takes his crown.

pets rusty


Category | Huge Hounds

Third time’s the charm for Rusty. After his first owner passed away, his second family eventually took him to Columbia Second Chance due to his impeccable taste … for the neighbor’s chickens. Now in his third and forever home since July 2022, Rusty lives the good life. “It took Rusty almost a year to come to trust us and feel like he was home after we adopted him. He now knows this is home,” says Rusty’s owner Julie Brown.

Rusty is a foodie, mostly loving his favorite sweet treats: cookies, peanut butter and whipped cream. He also loves to play keep away with shoes by carrying them by the laces. Brown believes Rusty is probably a half Labrador retriever, half pointer mix. He loves to bark at all wildlife, including flocks of birds flying over. “He’s most definitely a warm and sunny weather type dog,” she says.

daisy the hedgehog


Category | Honorary Award

Daisy stole the heart of Columbia as soon as she was submitted. As a hedgehog pup, she was adopted by owner Susan Hunze from Cub Creek Science Camp in Rolla, Missouri. During the contest, she passed away unexpectedly at three years old. Daisy loved smelling smells and sticking her head in toilet paper rolls. As a nocturnal pet, she lived for sleeping during the day and running on her wheel at night. Our honorary first place goes to her.

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