Imagine being bounced from place to place. Constantly being surrounded by unfamiliar people, new smells, and all you want to do is hide.
Ellison came to us from another rescue group, a shy girl who wanted nothing to do with humans. Beamer was surrendered to us as a stray and was used to living on his own. After moving into the Community Cat room at the shelter, both nervous kitties immediately found their hiding spots. It was quite evident from that day on, getting them to come out of their comfort zone would be a challenge.
We noticed that while neither cat enjoyed the presence of people, they did extremely well with other cats. We decided that placing them in a foster home together could help bring out their unique personalities and show them that humans are kind. It worked. Their foster mom began to see their likes and dislikes, how they preferred sunny spots over-looking the outdoors and how they began to learn to love. On their own terms, of course.
When a potential adopter enters the shelter, they are looking for a companion. They are looking for the missing piece to complete their family. It can be discouraging for staff to see the same animals overlooked time and time again due to fear. Neither Ellison or Beamer came out when a person entered the room, they didn’t come down from their perch to receive head rubs or show off their personality. How could we help them get adopted?
Ellison was adopted into a home with another cat and they quickly became inseparable. Unfortunately, after the loss of her companion, Ellison found herself back at the shelter. It was after guidance and detailed evaluation that Ellison was enrolled in the Cat Pawsitive Program. Started by the Jackson Galaxy Project, the program aimed to help “difficult” cats find homes through touch and clicker training. The program has been proven to decrease length of stay, increase adoptions and more. Our certified staff began working diligently with Ellison to build her confidence and increase her comfort with human interaction. Ellison excelled and was adopted shortly after her success in the program. m
Beamer also found his forever home through his foster family and remained in the home that showed him all the good things in life. He had been the longest-term cat during his time with the shelter, and after 128 days of living in fear, he was going home. Beamer immediately bonded with his new feline brother. Besides the warm beds and good food, he had gotten used to at the shelter, Beamer was able to learn the benefit of a loving home from a happy, friendly, confident sibling.
When adopting a cat, consider looking for the one who remains hidden as others swarm for attention. They may just need a chance to come out of their shell. Their heart wants and needs love just as much and with a little time, they’ll return that love to you a million times over.
Written by: Ali Lynch, Community Outreach Coordinator