You may be familiar with Bell, a female ginger tabby, who in a video from the Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement Shelter is shown to be the last cat at the facility (see link below). Many readers of the story were heartbroken to see this timid female cat creeping out from under a hiding place in her enclosure to look out the window and wait patiently for the return of her owners who abandoned her at the shelter after eight years together. People were questioning how a cat owner can relinquish their cat to a shelter after living with them for eight years. It happens, I am afraid. And not that infrequently either.
And, as expected, it was a great shock to Bell. When a timid cat is abandoned to a shelter, they’re less likely to be adopted because they hide and are reluctant to come forward to greet a potential adopter. And as they’re less likely to be adopted they can end up, as happened in this case, the only cat remaining at a shelter. She was surrounded by empty cages. It is almost like an advertisement to not adopt this cat. It’s like stating that this cat is unadoptable which was entirely unfair.
But the story has a nice ending and it is thanks to a novel relationship that this shelter has with a veterinary program. They partner with a nearby college offering veterinary training.
This allows students from the college to use their skills to treat the cats on procedures such as dental cleanings and ultrasounds. This helps the students and the shelter. And if it helps the shelter, it helps the cats. And it is through this program that Bell met her new owner.
Yes, Bell was adopted by a woman who was training to be a veterinary technician at this college. The story was reported in Newsweek (March 2, 2022). She thought that Bell was calm and affectionate. She said that she was an “expert biscuit maker”. What she means is that she can make cats happy and that bit of information made the shelter staff very happy. Bell is now happily ensconced in her new home. The was a resident cat but the introduction went well apparently.
There are many cases of shelter cats who almost become residents at their shelter. Some can spend years waiting for a kind and special adopter to come along. I wrote about one cat who state for six years in a shelter before being finally adopted – see link below.
And below is a video of a couple of cats at the Maxfund Animal Shelter who resided at the shelter for almost their entire lives and became part of the fabric of the shelter before being adopted. It was a bittersweet moment for the staff and they had a party to celebrate the great moment although tears were shed by some staff.