If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: It’s easy to love the social, confident kitties. Of course it is. But there’s always something to be said for the ones that take some time. Their love, like anything worth having, takes patience and compromise. And sometimes, when you’ve just lost the cat who owned your heart, gaining that love can mean the world. Such was the case for our volunteer Tina in March of 2016. Here is her story:
“Yesterday I came across Sam's intake picture from the high kill shelter that Team Cat Rescue pulled him from. Here he is, 8 months old, crammed into his litterbox - like so many intake pictures we see every day - trying to hide from the noise, overcrowding, and new environment. Team Cat Rescue didn't know much about his personality (because let’s face it - they're usually gassed before they become comfortable enough to be social), but they pulled him into their foster system anyway. And lucky for him, because turns out Sam was not great at the whole "social" thing.
Our adoption story begins with this picture, but is by no means defined by it. See, around the same time Sam was abandoned to his fate in the shelter, I had just lost my cat Jack (along with what felt like my entire heart). With the knowledge that he could never be replaced, I decided to adopt a cat, and save a life in his memory. Queue my accidental run-in with Sam. The day I was planning on going to the Toronto Humane Society, I walked into a Pet Valu to buy new pet supplies, and straight into Sam’s line of sight. He was Jack’s opposite physically and in personality, but something about his sad face tugged at my heart strings bad. I visited him a second time that day, and put in my application with Team Cat Rescue.
And so a few days later, I brought my new baby home. He was nervous around people, and scattered at any loud sound, but he LOVED to play! We began with slow introductions, and positive reinforcement to get him accustomed first to the family, and then to guests. And through the love I put into this relationship, I realized that I was both healing and honouring my loss of Jack. Here, in the great gap he left in my life, I was able to create a life for a cat whose shy personality would’ve put him on the short list to be gassed first. You see, in a world where animals in gassing pounds get a maximum of two weeks to be adopted; a shy,”” unadoptable”” cat like Sam would’ve been first on their list. Nobody wants a shy cat, so why not get rid of him and make room for one that will clear out more quickly? It’s terrible, but it’s true.
With this knowledge, I joined Team Cat Rescue as a volunteer a few months later, and have not looked back. I see the immense change in my cat, and in the foster and adopted cats of the rescue, and know that Team Cat Rescue is doing so many things right. Giving a chance to a cat who is shy, scared, or not completely socialized can be hard, but always comes with a huge reward. As I sit here writing this, Sam is curled up on my bed without a care in the world, and that means everything to me. He may not always want to hang out with guests when we have a party, but he usually tries, and that’s good enough for me.
So give a chance to the shy ones, the ones who growl and hide, or even just the ones who aren’t kittens anymore. They need it. And you may need it too. Everyone loves a social cat, I know I did. Jack was everything every adopter wants in their ideal cat, and it was what I was looking for the day I met Sam too. But sometimes life has other things in mind for us. Through this shy, insecure cat, I gained a hard earned love, and a wonderful cat rescue community – Neither of which I would trade for the world.”