Timid cats need homes too !


With kitten season upon us, visitors to our centre "ohh !" and "ahh !" over the abundant selection of bouncy youngsters that prance and play in our pens.  How often have you "wanted" this or that kitten because it put it's front paws up on the glass and chased your fingers around ?  Have you ever had an excitable kitten leap into your arms as soon as you open the door ?  Been "savaged" by a ball of fluff no bigger than your own hand as it tries to taste your fingers? 

Have you ever looked past the bright eyes and bushy tail demanding attention in front of you... further towards the back of the pen... the identical looking kitten who is not quite so lively... not quite so bold...  not quite so pushy...  not quite so "loveable" ?

When all of its more popular siblings have left for new homes, what happens to the one who is left behind ?  That's what happens - they get left behind... overlooked in favour of their more outgoing relatives.  Why ?  For precisely that reason - a shy cat doesn't get picked first because it's not at the front of the pen bouncing up and down going "pick me !  pick me !".

Being shy isn't the kittens fault, its just how they are.  But left alone, especially after the lively company of their litter-mates, a kitten can withdraw even more, retreating even further away, becoming isolated and fearful. 

Imagine being in a prison cell, when the door suddenly opens with a horrendous screech, you are turfed out of your nice warm bed onto a cold, hard floor while everything around you is turned upside down for several minutes, before the door clangs shut and you are left all alone again to make your own way back into a bed that wasn't the one you had before, eventually curling up, but being constantly on-edge, waiting for when the door will open again to disturb you.

For single kittens - especially those who happen to have been born at the centre, this is a fair approximation of what they experience from their point of view.  With no other existence to measure happiness, comfort, fuss and play, this is all the kitten knows of life.

At our centres, our staff give ALL cats and kittens a portion of our time, to help them understand that they are not alone, and are loved.  But the time that we spend with our charges is not enough, it is NEVER enough !  The work we do at our centres is only a fraction of the attention that a proper home can provide.  We are just a half-way-house, a temporary holding station for animals who have no where else to go.  Our mission is to see that every single one of our cats and kittens finds a worthy home that can nurture them to their fullest potential.

So... The forgotten kitten gets left behind, all alone, wary of being disturbed without notice, for however long, until someone with a kind heart finally notices it and says "Awww what a shame!" picks it up and takes it home.  Where suddenly, everything changes.  The kitten gets gentle strokes that remind it of it's mother's tongue calmly washing it.  Another nice warm, and above all, permanent bed to snuggle into.  Although there are noises to contend with, nothing comes and interrupts whatever it is doing.  There are furry things that move about, that it just seems the most natural thing in the world to chase.  Later on there is green stuff which tickle its paws and tastes funny.  And the ability to travel more than 10 steps in any direction without having to turn around is extraordinary.  Loads of things to get onto, ...behind, ...into, ...stuck !  Everything it experiences all seems to be limitless on an almost hourly basis.

THIS is what a home has to offer a kitten - the opportunity to develop into a fully fledged cat that is confident and content, with a noticeable personality.  Every animal we look after eventually ends up in a home like this - but how long does it take to find one ?  The more friendly the kitten, the faster is flies out the door.  The more reserved or overlooked kitten can take longer.  How much longer ?  Can you imagine what a lonely life a shy kitten might endure if its left on its own for weeks... or months... years?  Left without human contact for long enough, a kitten will grow into an adult cat and revert to its wild or feral state being so wary of humans it will want nothing to do with us at all.

A timid cat needs, and deserves, a chance to become what we believe all cats should be - and that is HAPPY!  All they really need is an understanding of what has made them so shy, and the willingness to be able to convince them that we humans are a source of happiness for them. 

With all the chaos of kitten season, are you able to think that maybe, just maybe, YOU could offer a welcoming home to a cat that is shy or timid ?  It may take some time, but if you are prepared to put in the work required, the reward of coaxing the true personality out of a cat is immeasurable.  Just to know that you have taken a scared and frightened animal and moulded it into a confident and content one, will undoubtedly give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.