Written by Alisa, Animal Care Attendant
I started working at the shelter in September, 2017, but my adoption story starts a few months earlier when I adopted Willow (Bronx) from RAPS in May.
Her bright eyes and beautiful tabby markings caught my eye the moment I saw her picture online. When I came to the shelter to visit her, I had trouble finding her as she was hiding on top of the cages, and she didn’t want to come down to say hello. I almost left without interacting with her but something made me climb up on a step stool to see if she would like me. I started petting her and her purr almost echoed through the room as she leaned into my hand for more pets! I immediately knew this sweet cat was a perfect match for me. She quickly made herself at home despite being very shy around new people, and I was quite content with her as an only pet.
Little did I know that my heart would grow twice as big within a few months…
When I started working as an animal care attendant at the shelter, I was introduced to friendly cats, shy cats, quiet cats, grumpy cats, scared-y cats, and…Legs. He didn’t fit into any of those categories, yet all of them at the same time. Having been a cat lover for most of my life I thought I knew how to read a cat but he was a mystery to me. He would hiss at anyone who got close, swat at and bite the hands that fed him, back away from the slightest noise, and shove his face into his blankets when he knew someone was watching him, but our veterinarians could not find a physical cause for his behaviour. I made it my mission to understand the long-haired mystery that was Legs. I spent many hours over the course of the next month sitting in front of his cage and letting him get used to me. He warmed up to me slowly, starting with accepting treats and kibble from my hand, to finally loving being pet and rolling onto his back to show his belly. During this time I also learned that I was one of few people that could get close to him.
Deciding to take him home this past October was a snap decision, but one of the best I have ever made. He reverted when I brought him home; he hid behind my bed for the longest time, only coming out to eat and use his litter box when no one was around. Day after day I would try to pet him and ended up with many scratches on my hands and arms, but I wasn’t going to give up on him. He spent so much time sleeping or hiding that I began referring to him as Lazy Boy, and I settled on the name Laze. He started to come around after four weeks in my house, and I notice positive changes in his behaviour almost daily! Willow was not the biggest fan of Laze when he came home as she had become used to being the queen of the household. Over time, Willow and Laze have come to understand each other, just as I learned to understand Laze, and as long as Willow thinks she is getting the majority of the attention, she is a happy girl!
Today Laze is a bright and happy boy, venturing out into the open spaces of house during daylight hours and meowing to demand pets. He has found a few toys that he loves, and has claimed the area under a small table in the living room as his personal “hiding” spot. He forcefully headbutts me when I hold my hand out for him to be scratched, and he is still learning that biting hurts me, even though he doesn’t mean to. He is such a happy cat now, and has had a complete turn around since being at the shelter. I couldn’t be happier with both his progress, and with Willow adapting to living with an older male cat. They are so spoiled and loved, and I am very grateful that they both ended up choosing me.