November of 2012 the Seattle Animal Shelter received a number of cats from a hoarder. We got the 5 most likely candidates for socialization: 4 adults and a kitten. We set the adults up in carrires in cages in the basement. Initially they were too shy to come out of their carriers but 3 clearly loved to be pet. All were undernourished, had URI, and needed time to recover and get healthy. After a while we moved them to an upstairs room where they all hid under the bed. Now they have full run of the house and are some of the sweetest, quirkiest cats we have fostered.
Lily shared a cage with Lucy and the two would sit at the door of their carrier with little tortious shell faces looking out. I could reach in and they would both head butt and crowd up to my hand for pets but they were too shy to come out. After a couple days they got bold enough to come out for their meals. I would sit by and pet them while they were eating. At first this was too much and they would scurry back into their carrier but then they could stay out to eat while being pet. Lily was the first to come out to greet me and seemed interested in exploring outside of the cage. We called her “Ms Adventure” because she was the boldest of the two ladies.
Now that she has run of the house she has shown a unique blend of shyness and boldness. She hides inside a livingroom chair most of the day and is the hardest to approach. But, in the evenings when we settle she is the first to jump into our laps for pets.
Lily has a very soft, down, medium length tortious shell fur – just a delight to pet.
Lucy is my particular favorate. She supper loved head rubs but was more wary coming out than Lily was. Now that she is upstairs she is the one who is most likely to approach me for pets and the one who will sleep on the bed with me.
Lucy has not one tooth in her head – we speculate an effect of in-breeding that happened in the hoarders. She has a tendency to wheeze and snort – we think related to the structure of her mouth and nasal passage. Her purr is a charming cooing snort. Lack of teeth, however, does not much impair her abiltiy to eat. We generally feed her pate which she gums down with gusto. She is the thinnest of the honeys but slowly putting on weight.
Lucy’s coat is a little coarser than Lily’s but has a beautiful mahogany color and is a pleasure to pet. She has a of a disheveled, serious look, but is always ready for a head rub. If my attention lags she will tap our arm with her paw to pull our attention back to petting her. (Lucy and Lily have since been adopted together.)
Wally is a black boy, shaped like a cannon ball. He had a big appetite so got a cage by himself. He would sit head out the door and hiss at us when approached. If we just held our hand above him Wally would give it a moment consideration then headbutt us and purr. He would come out for his food then notice that he was out and shoot back into his carrier. He would then notice that there is food and come out to eat.
Once we gave them free run of the house he immediatly adopted the space under our dining room table as his safe spot. He can watch the world go by but has protection of all the chair legs.
While all the honeys are playful, Wally is the most. A toy pulled across the livingroom floor will always lure him out. He must never have had a chance to chase a toy as his first attempts were clumbsy.
Charles is a beautiful long legged grey boy. He was the most shutdown of the adults and got his own cage as he was reluctant to eat. For the first several days he gave no response to any pets and I considered him the most at risk. Then I made a point of spending some extra time with him, petting him regardless. Some switch seemed to flip and soon he was head butting and rolling around with the pleasure of being pet.
Chip, who came over to spend time with the crew, took a particular liking to Charles and spent extra time with him. Upstairs he was always the first to come out and would come right up to us for pets. When Chip became a SAS foster parent we transferred Charles to her. Charle’s now has his own web page to facilitate his adoption. (And has since been adopted.)
We put the kitten in his own room. Shadow clearly had no idea how to live inside and was scared and shutdown. Marie spent a lot of time with him, showed him how to use the litter box and how to receive pets from people. When we first let him roam the house he hid in and under things but always came out for play and meals. Over several weeks he shifted dramatically and was soon out and confident all the time. Shadow revealed a delightful, balanced personality. He could play by himself, he could play with people, and he could play with other cats. He could sleep by himself, he could snuggle with us on the bed, and he could snuggle with other cats.
Shadow became good playbudies with another foster, Bubbles. Bubbles was somewhat dominate toward the other cats but always very affectionate and tollerant of Shadow.
These two have been adopted together.