Ho, ho, ho cat lovers, hold onto your hats. It’s Merlin here with some furry good news. It’s why we haven’t been blogging or barely online. If you’re a subscriber to our Friday Photo Quote newsletter, you’ve had a sneak peek. Ever since my mom Layla began volunteering at the New Rochelle Humane Society she wanted to foster one of the cats rescued from a hoarder seven months ago. Certain cats like Gray Boy stirred her soul and he inspired the weekly shelter volunteer and adoption feature. Sadly he died before she could foster him. Other cats came and went. There would be a spark of interest and the cat would be adopted. It was as if the Fates were conspiring against her. Her favorite little munchkin with the wonky eyes, Babe endured one illness or issue after another. Finally her digestive issues were solved with diet but timing for fostering was never right. Then her cage-mate Pa died. Layla decided to wait.
A few weeks ago, she was moved from the back room to another caged area and clearly she was not happy. Layla decided the next time she visited, she’d take her home. And believe me, she consulted with me and my brothers repeatedly. Enough with the sob story of living in filthy cage with being rescued from hell. Okay, we’re all rescues. We get it. And for anyone who thinks they don’t have time to foster, think again. When passion or an emergency happens, time miraculously opens up. Layla is always crazy busy. She just re-prioritized her 80-hour-week. Working at home helps.
Before any fostering could happen there was lots of prep work. She decided our large bathroom with a clawfoot tub and three windows would be ideal with places to hide and for Babe see the sky for the first time ever. Layla had spent a lot of time with Babe and had a sense of what kinds of toys, perches and beds she’d like. She cleaned and arranged, cat-proofed every square inch for hazards or toxic items. Babe is a tiny a thing, so she didn’t need a huge carrier and Layla choose a Sleepypod Air. My resistant cat dad who for months claimed he didn’t want another cat asked to see her photo. He gave a thumbs up.
Last Wednesday Layla brought lots of toys and goodies to the shelter. She telepathically kept saying, I’m coming to take you home, Babe. Nothing could crush her buoyant mood, right? Wrong.
Babe was adopted and her new person would be picking her up in a couple days. Poor Layla felt all kinds of happy and sad. Babe paced her cage in away she’d never seen before. She jumped out of the cage and onto Layla’s shoulders covering her in kisses. In a quiet room, she broke the news. You have a new home, just not with me.
Feeling awful, Layla made the rounds room by room of all the cats, checking out the new ones and the old ones.There are only a handful of hoarding cats left. There was a perfect foster room waiting. Christmas was coming and the thought of so many cats sitting alone in their cages over the holidays was too much. Who would be coming home for the holidays? It was a no brainer. There were four, six-month-old kittens rescued from a second hoarder in June. We featured them but there were no takers for these beautiful but undersocialized, fearful bunch.
The only one who dared to jump out of her cage was one-eyed Vicky (see below). Now a year-old they haven’t made much progress and have grown up in cages of a tiny, windowless room. Vicky hit the foster home jackpot and came home. The plan is if Layla can turn Vicky around and document her progress, it spells hope for all four. If it works for one, maybe someone else will take a chance with her siblings like Pablo
Well, it’s working. After only four days, Vicky (aka Nou Nou) is transformed. She’s affectionate, fully engaged and a killer soccer player. It’s taken a huge effort and nothing went according to the grand plan. Improvisation, intuition and lots of love turned this less adoptable gal to super adoptable. Details to follow.
So if you’d like to not only save a life but truly make a difference, there are dozens of shelters cats near you waiting for a real home. Trust me, it’s a super feel-good happy dance win win for all. Maybe there is a Santa Claus after all.