Six months ago the New Rochelle Humane Society where I volunteer, rescued over 60 cats from an extreme hoarding situation. Summer is a busy time for all shelters and the rescue taxed the shelter’s capacity. When it rains it pours and it rained kittens a few days later when someone dumped 15 more cats and kittens from another hoarder. There were no free cages and many of the cats were housed in large dogs crates. I’d never seen anything like it and marveled at the can-do attitude of the staff, vet, vet techs, volunteers and those who opened up their hearts and homes to foster.
I’ve chronicled the progress week by week; the adoptions, the medical issues, the heartbreaks and the victories. Sometimes it feels like a bottomless well of need and hopelessness but the rays of sunshine of progress propel us forward one purr at a time. In the sunshine room, several hoarding cats including our famous Marco are waiting but yay, tuxie queen Coretta got adopted. Will Marco be next?
Many of the hoarder cats are still in foster homes and some are likely to be happy “failed fosters”. Some of the more socialized cats have been adopted. Some have transitioned from cages to cage-free free rooms, while others remain in cages. Sadly some of the cats have died or given their medical condition had to be euthanized. Everyone involved in rescuing and caring for shelter cats try their best but the reality is no shelter can save them all. It’s not all roses and rainbows but there is much sunshine among the clouds.
My favorite hoarder kitty “Gray Boy” is this column’s muse and died six weeks after being rescued. One of oldest hoarder cats Pa (featured with his cage-mate Babe) died recently. Shortly after I’d featured him and his cage-mate Babe no longer liked other other and they were separated.
After he and baby split up, he’d look for her and this was the last time I saw them together. He’d made huge strides and happily roamed the vet tech back room with a few other cats. At least he was out of a cage, lapped up attention and always climbed into my lap when I sat on the floor. He never got to know the joy of sunshine or a forever home but he was loved. Rest in Peace, Pa.
Hoarder cats can be as adoptable as any other cat and sometimes more so. I’ve seem some of the most incredible hoarder cats be adopted. They carry a certain aura of endurance, grace and gratitude. The biggest issue with many hoarder cats is the shyness, fear and anxiety of an undersocialized cat. These are the cats the slink to the back the cage, try to hide and make no effort to engage with humans. It’s hard to be adoptable when they don’t present well. It takes a patient person to consider adopting a cat who may hide under a couch for weeks. With a little effort and a lot of love, all cats eventually turn around. They may or may not be super snugglers or lap cats but they all deserve a second chance.
There was a trio of kittens, I’m calling the Three Musketeers from the second hoarder that are still available for adoption. They are ideal candidates for a foster home for gentle socialization. I met them a couple days after they were rescued and were housed in a crate. The one-eyed gray gal named Vicky is a real character and not as fearful. The other two, Pablo and Uma (name change?) made themselves as small and invisible as possible. They were about six months old. They are now young adults and still fearful. Instead of enjoying kittenhood and adolescence they have lived caged in small, windowless room. It’s not conducive to their socialization. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time or staff. Vicky is as charming ever as in a droll way and reminds of a character Louis Wain would have painted with a monocle.
She’s wary but will jump out of her cage while her litter-mates are more shy. She is currently alone in a cage. All three are available separately or in pairs. They are small for their age and I’d love to see them stretch out on a sunny window sill, where they would no doubt blossom in no time. They would be eternally thankful for a foster or forever home(s). Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing and caring!