By Grace Andrews – a Reader’s Forum article.
Although I am not set up as a non-profit rescue, I have often worked with legitimate rescue organizations to pull cats from shelters. I foster them, get them vetted and try to locate permanent homes for them. When I saw the picture of a Hope (as we aptly called her) on the shelter page, I knew I needed to act quickly.
Hope was a beautiful long haired gray/blue cat. In the shelter photo, Hope looked frightened. Her eyes revealed that she was terrified and I felt, given the chance, she would become a wonderful pet.
I had often worked with the Humane Society to rescue cats from this NC shelter, but they were now under new administration and changes were being implemented. I did not go to the shelter myself. Instead, a volunteer from the Humane Society went to retrieve her for me.
I was to meet the woman later to pick up this cat. I found out later from the rescue volunteer that the shelter manager was reluctant to let her take this cat. This particular cat was deemed feral and was not adoptable. The shelter manager eventually relented with the warning that if anyone should be bitten, the cat was not welcome back.
When I got Hope home, she was fearful, but not aggressive. She hid for a few weeks. This is not uncommon when cats are put in an unfamiliar situation. But I allowed her to come out in her own time and she soon came to love affection.
She would often sit at my feet just staring up at me waiting for a gentle touch or little attention. In a short time, Hope had gone from non-adoptable to a completely trusting and loving companion. Cats are not so different than people. They all have their own unique personalities and respond to stress differently.
People who don’t understand that and are likely to think that a stressed or terrorized cat is not adoptable when they simply are not adjusting to a stressful environment.
The shelter is an extremely stressful setting for many animals and I am sure that many are not given a fair chance because they cannot tolerate the stress and may react in a way that is deemed “feral.” I am so glad that Hope was given a second chance. She has turned into a delightful companion despite her troublesome experiences.
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