It’s time to get out the capes and golden lassos: There are two kitties in the shelter that need the help of shy cat heroes. And there are two more that could inspire you to do the work (or you could skip some of that work and just take these two home). So, let’s get started!
Hero Alert: Twyla
Twyla, also shown at the top of this post, is an 8-year-old ebony beauty weighing in at just 8 pounds. She’s 8 years old, and she’s been in the shelter for just a few weeks now. And during that time, she’s become a favorite of the shelter staff. And they have done a great deal of work with this tiny girl.
When Twyla first arrived, she expressed her shyness with aggression. She did quite a bit of hissing and yelling and spitting. Personally, I found her a little terrifying. But the staff seemed to sense that there was a spark of love hidden deep in there, and they tried all sorts of things to win her over, including Feliway spray and tempting foods. In time, she stopped spitting at them, and she moved out to the adoption floor.
Now, she can still seem a little unusual. Let me demonstrate by showing you two videos, side by side. This is the first. I had just walked into her room, and she’d hissed at me just before I started filming.
This is the same cat and the same me about 2 minutes later, after some Feliway spray and food bribes.
Doesn’t seem like the same cat, right? But it is. And this is all about shyness.
Twyla will need a home in which she is free to express her sassiness from time to time. She may always be the sort of cat that hisses a greeting. And she may never choose to get along with either kids or other pets. She may need to be solo sassy. But she really is a love, right?
Hero Alert: Leonard
This is another intensely shy kitty: Leonard. He’s a 9-year-old boy that came to us just a few days ago, due to the health of his owner. He was in the midst of a formal checkup today, so I couldn’t lay my hands on his paperwork. I can’t tell you anything about his likes or dislikes in terms of pets and kids. But I can tell you that Leonard is struggling with the shelter life.
He spent much of our visit all pancaked out in his kennel just like this, and while he enjoyed being petted, I couldn’t coax him into a better position for a photograph. I decided to just work with him, rather than stressing him with a camera.
Leonard is a kind boy, and he has handled medical exams quite nicely. But he freezes in place fairly often, and when he’s really scared, he hides his eyes.
Leonard is likely to be a wonderful companion, since he is such a gentle boy. But he will likely go through a period of adjustment in his new home. He will need quiet and patience to make that transition.
Hero Inspiration: Winnie
Winnie and I go way back. And we should. This is her fourth time in the shelter system, and during her prior three visits, I was really worried about her mental health. She reminded me a lot of Leonard in those early days. She hid in her kennel, trembling when anyone touched her.
But look at her now! Check out her bold and brassy self in this video.
She flew right out of her cubby to say hello to me this morning. She let me pick her up and carry her around, and then she followed behind me muttering and chirping as I cleaned. I can’t even believe this is the same cat. And I’d like to give a formal shout-out to her last family: Whatever they did really worked with Winnie.
Winnie’s last family was devastated to leave her with us, but they had a serious housing issue and really had no other choice. But they provided her with a home that was quiet, relaxed and free of stress. In that environment, she thrived.
Use Winnie as an example of how shy cats can improve, in the right environment. They can be transformed. Let her inspire you to help Twyla or Leonard, or simply take Winnie home instead.
Winnie prefers to be the only pet, by the way, and she does not appreciate the company of children. So those are important points to consider.
Hero Inspiration: BJ
This 11-year-old all-black kitty was once described as shy. He tended to hide in his kennel, and he would shrink back from staffers and volunteers who tried to pet him or help him. A lot has changed since then.
BJ has a skin condition the staff has been treating, so he’s been handled a lot. And in the nearly 2 months that he’s been with us, he has become one of the most affectionate cats in the shelter. Now, he’ll leap right into your lap if you sit down, and he is known for purring and kneading if you simply talk to him through the door.
BJ does have some health issues. That skin condition may require the use of a special diet, for example, at he did test positive for FIV at one point (although he tested negative on recheck). So the family that adopts BJ will need to discuss both of those issues with a veterinarian. As a result, his adoption fee is waived. That means he can go home for free.
And what an inspiration he is! He’s also proof that shy cats can change. And he needs a home.
So what do you say? Are there any heroes out there? I hope so. And do share these stories so we can get these cats adopted.