Imagine you are a little black kitten named Pekoe, living with your siblings in a wonderful foster family after your mommy raised you. You grow to love their two little boys and even though you’re a little more shy than your siblings, you are happy to be adopted with another kitten to another family with children.
Now imagine your family splits apart, with all the trauma that entails. Your kitten friend is given away and you are left with the dad, who gets a new girlfriend and a dog, neither of which like or understand you.
We don’t know how Pekoe was actually treated in her family, but when the dad said his current girlfriend was allergic and he didn’t want Pekoe any more, we began to make room for her. Before we could get her in, he told us she’d been given away.
Then Happy Cats got a call that the Humane Society had a cat with our microchip. The cat was presenting as aggressive and unadoptable and was slated for euthaniasia. When she was picked up, she was in kill-or-be-killed mode, yowling in fear and throwing herself against the walls of her carrier. It turned out to be Pekoe.
She was taken to the car and spoken to quietly, reassured that things were going to get better. Immediately her deep yowls softened, then quieted, then turned into heartrending pleas that sounded just like questions. Will I really be safe now? Yes, little Pekoe. You will.
Pekoe’s recovery didn’t happen overnight, but within a couple of weeks of calm and steady care, she could be petted with a soft petting wand (which we use to reassure cats when hands are not safe to handle yet).
Still fearful, she tucked herself away in her soft covered bed. It was a thrill when she first pushed back into a volunteer’s hand with her shoulders, her little face still buried because she was still so scared.
She so wanted us to love her again! Soon, we moved her, bed and all, into a colony. Next thing we knew, she was out and playing just like she did as a kitten!
Meanwhile, her indomitable spirit won the hearts of our volunteers, particularly Sharon, the main one who worked so hard to earn her trust. A plain cup of tea like Pekoe, especially if shy, is often the last one to be adopted.
After some weeks of being overlooked, none of us were surprised when Sharon decided to take her home. Pekoe even went into the carrier on her own, proof of her ability to overcome sheer terror just a few weeks before and return to trusting people again!
Some may say that we spent too many resources on one plain little black cat. Pekoe would beg to disagree. Happy Cats Haven is committed to helping people learn better ways to connect with these sometimes fragile animals. We are their safety net, the place where they can land when complicated, busy lives conflict with their best interests.
Pekoe’s good, solid socializing as a kitten was never lost. It was just buried in fear for a while. We think that all plain black cats deserve another chance for love, even if they are sometimes pushed past where others would stop trying. Sweet, safe dreams with Sharon, Pekoe!