It’s Time for Playgroup!

I really like Mondays. I know that sounds weird, but it’s because on Mondays, our shelter is closed to the public and that’s when we get to have cat playgroup. No, you aren’t reading wrong, and I’m not talking about dogs. Our cats get a playgroup of their very own.

We close all the doors to the adoption center, put up signs to make sure no dogs come through, put a litter box out, and grab the extra pair of hawk gloves (as a precautionary measure—but they’re hardly ever needed). Then it’s time to bring out the cats.

It’s really important to go slowly. Bring out two cats, let them settle in the room. Then bring out another. Cats are environment-sensitive animals. Some get nervous being taken out of their cage and into a room they’ve never been in before. Some, of course, hate other cats. If we know that ahead of time (either from owner testimony or our observations in their cages) we might not bring them out. But usually we’ll try every cat at least once. Because sometimes they do change their mind, and sometimes a cat that you’d bet money hates other cats actually likes them (or vice versa). Continue reading “It’s Time for Playgroup!”

Whiskers, the “Old” Cat

Whiskers at Shelter“How do you not want to take them all home?”

It’s a common question I get while working in the adoption center. And truth of the matter is, I just don’t.

Maybe it’s because I know that they’re all going to get adopted eventually, most of them going to homes far better than my own. It’s not sad for me, seeing all the caged cats in adoption. For me, it’s a place of transition. Once a cat is in adoption, they’ve gone through the worst of it—abandonment by a previous owner, or a heartbreaking farewell, or life on the streets, or abuse, or whatever led them to be in a shelter. Things can only get better from here. So I don’t feel the need to take every animal home, because they’re already on their way home.

Sure, there are always favorites—cats that you try extra hard to get adopted (currently, mine is Princess;  update: Princess has finally been adopted!)—and it’s always extra satisfying when they finally make it out the door.

But then there are the select few, the ones that really take your breath away, the ones that you’d take home with you in a heartbeat, if only you could take them home. It’s different than the cats that I would happily adopt, if I didn’t already have two cats. (Between Smirnoff’s hatred of all cats other than Bacardi and my own allergies, as well as being a poor graduate student, two is all I can manage.) Those are cats you miss when they’re gone, but in a happy way. No, what I’m talking about is something else: the cats whose lives really touch you, who you’ll never ever forget for as long as you work at the shelter. Cats that you try really hard in your head to figure out a way to take them home and make it work, even though it’s impossible. There have only been two of these cats for me over the past two years, and they both hold special places in my heart. Continue reading “Whiskers, the “Old” Cat”