Monday, January 15, 2018

My Favourite Cause

Today I would like to write about something that I am sure I have written about previously. A few hours on Saturday brought the topic back to me. The second Saturday of each month, the rescue-group of which I am a member, the Lethbridge PAW Society, brings a cat, available for adoption, to a local pet-supply shop, to show him off, and to generate interest in him, the group, and cat-rescue in general. We rarely have an adoption result directly from the event, but it is good for publicity. If people don’t know about us and the cats seeking homes, nothing will happen.

Most of the time, the three hours the cat spends in his roomy cage in the shop are neither good nor bad for him. He rarely wants to be there, but usually puts up with it. The cat is often anxious at first, then settles down reluctantly, to await his return to his foster-home. Now and then, a feline reaction is cheerful; periodically it is fearful for the whole time. That was, unfortunately, the case with Rika this past Saturday.


This illustrates a ‘sub-cause’, as it were, that I like to promote whenever possible, and that is the consideration for adoption of the less likely cats. Rika spent most of her time under the cat-bed provided for her. She did not want to come out and interact with people, she did not respond to petting and soft words. Normally, she is an extrovert, entertaining humans and herself with playful antics and trying to involve the other animals in her foster-home in games. No one would have known that from her time at the pet-supply shop.

Other cats are not outgoing at the best of times. Like Ali - currently featured in my sidebar - they are shy, and that makes them reclusive, especially with new people. They unfortunately create a circle of apathy: few humans want to take the chance with a cat who won’t even come out to sniff them, let alone play or talk with them, so the cat remains unadopted and becomes more of an introvert.

But that doesn’t mean he will always be so. What it means is that what qualities he has will be hidden in the short time a prospective family spends with him in a foster-home or shelter. He will emerge from his cocoon of shyness only over a long time, weeks, perhaps months. That is what it will take to come to know him.

That cocoon of shyness is also a cocoon of loneliness and fear. He doesn’t trust or like the possibilities offered by change, so he remains as he is, even if it means never having a home. But I suggest that these are not only the cats who need the chance of a home the most, but those who will give the greatest return on an investment of patience and affection.

There is nothing wrong with adopting the cat who reaches out for you through the bars of his cage. He may be meant for you. But he will also have an excellent chance of charming someone else. While your heart may melt at the cries of a little fellow who clearly wants to come with you, consider those who are too despondent, too disappointed to try anymore. Consider the ones with their backs to you, who hide at the rear of their kennels. You won’t have a lap-cat that evening, and you won’t have a cat sleeping on your bed that night. But you will some day, and when you do, you will have the most faithful of friends, a new family member who will love and trust you like no other.

We all have qualities for which we search in those we want as friends, whether they are human or animal. We don’t want to risk being stuck with someone who annoys, bores or frightens us. But every new relationship is a risk. The next time you are searching for a cat to adopt, it may pay in any number of ways to ask the shelter or rescue-group, “Who needs a home the most? Who has been waiting the longest? Who will never be chosen?”

The answer to those questions may surprise and delight you.

18 comments:

  1. Oh, I want to cry now. :-(

    I hope Rika, and all the other shy, fearful cats waiting for adoption, do find wonderful forever homes.

    Interestingly, I don't gravitate toward the extroverted animals, I do gravitate toward the introverted ones. Annie was one of the few who didn't respond when I went into the cat room, and that caught my attention. (In Nicki's case, it turned out he had a cold or an ear infection, keeping him quiet. LOL.)

    Anyway, purrs and Light to them all.

    Now I need something uplifting, because my heart aches so....

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    1. I thought you might be one who would look further, beyond the obvious. Annie was very lucky - Nicki was even luckier!

      Tomorrow's article about Parker should be a happier one.

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  2. Very well said, and a point that isn't made nearly often enough.

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  3. What you wrote is so true,John. I volunteer at Philly PAWS twice a week, and for 7 years I worked in Maternity. I recently switched assignments and for the past few months I've been doing Cat Pawsitive Training with our aggressive and frightened cats in conjunction with the Jackson Galaxy Foundation. It's so wonderful when a cat that's been hiding for weeks finally comes out and lets you pet him. Or when an aggressive cat finally stops swatting and hissing and gives you a head bitt. And the best part is when these unadoptable cats finally get a furever home.

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    1. We've had a few surprises in our rescue-group, cats we never thought would find homes have been given chances, and they've prospered. That delights us.

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  4. This breaks my heart. I wish all cats could have a forever home especially cats like Rika. If my three cats weren't rescued off the street, I would have adopted the shy cat or one of the older ones. The older cats have the laid back life that I lead. Thank you for bringing this subject up.

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    1. Few others would have taken in cats from the street. They may not have had futures if not for you.

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  5. it is so hard when they don't show well.. it takes a special person to see past that

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  6. Excellent post. Some kitties just don't show well and get over looked yet once in a loving home they will be very friendly. And even if they are not, they still deserve a forever home.

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  7. So beautifully said I have tears. Thank you.

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  8. I read this post this morning and thought about it all day. Miss Pops is a lovely cat to live with, but she would have been shy too if she had been put in a cage. Me too I guess - I would hide away from strangers until I felt comfortable.

    Do they put a little bio on the cage? I know that if I read something about the cat there I would be more inclined to investigate more.

    Julie and Poppy Q

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    1. I imagine some shelters include profiles for their charges but most probably do not, either due to lack of time or due to apathy. It would certainly help, I agree.

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  9. That is so well said. I feel so sad for the cats who are too timid to let their true nature show through.
    When I took on my MIL's 10 cats when she died, three brothers had been born semi feral several years previously. One wanted human contact right from the start. Another one had an accident and got caught in a swinging gate by his neck causing nerve damage. I took on his care and over several months he made a good recovery. He became the sweetest and softest cat you could wish for. The third, even after my MIL had died, I couldn't get near, but suddenly when he was about 15 years old he decided it was time for change and started to join us on the couch. He lived until he was 19 and also became a love bug for the last 4 years of his life.

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    1. Ten cats! I know from my work in rescue and from reading of others', many people don't want a late relative's single cat, never mind almost a dozen of them. Good for you, and good that you gave them what they needed, whether affectionate or time. Funny how they can change suddenly - though the 15 year old had probably been observing you and Ivor for a long time. It's no wonder he decided you were all right with him.

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  10. I’ve always been drawn to the shy or timid cats. The “hidden treasures” i’ve called them and not one has ever failed to be exactly that. It brings such sadness to my heart to know now many kitties will never be given a chance to blossom and grow in the love of someone willing to take time with them. But there is always hope. Last fall, a cat at our local shelter who had been there 7 years found a home with a client who came in to adopt another cat and took him too. Just clicked, they did.
    My 20 year old, Willie, was helped across the bridge last Tuesday. I miss him so. His ashes will be returned today.

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    1. I'm very sorry to learn of Willie's passing. Even a lifespan of twenty years isn't enough for a loved one when it's his time. It's so fortunate he found someone to care for him and love him for as much time as he was given on Earth. Godspeed, Willie.

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  11. Thank you for this post. I think with time and love even the shy and wary ones come out of their shells. cats need to feel settled and loved. It is good to remember this as they are so easily overlooked.

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