Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shelter cat stories: Meet Custard!

Custard the adoptable cat
Every once in awhile, a cat comes into the shelter where I volunteer (Willamette Humane Society), and that cat and I form a tight connection that seems to elude other people. This cat, Custard, and I have that kind of connection. I'm hoping that, by sharing his story, I can convince someone else to see him as I do. If someone could do that, Custard would have a home by now.

Custard came to the shelter when he was abandoned by his family. He's a big Maine Coon mix (so tall!), but he's not showing his Maine glory right now. He missing that big ruff around his neck, and his poor little back end is almost completely bald. I have no idea what he dealt with when his family abandoned him, but something out there made him lose his hair.

That event also made Custard just a little afraid of people. And as a result, he has what we call "bad kennel presentation." This is how he looks most of the time.

Custard the cat tucked up in his kennel

He tries to find a dark space in which to hide, and he will not come out for people he does not know. And if he senses something about a visitor he does not like, even if he's met that person before, he will not come out at all. As a result, a lot of adopters just walk right by him. They think he isn't friendly or that he is somehow aggressive.

But, if Custard does know you and you can force an interaction in a space that is quiet (like the suite he is living in now), he becomes a completely different cat. He will leap out of his hiding space for me within about 15 seconds. And once he's out, he becomes a very loving and very forward lap cat. He likes to knead while purring, and when he really gets into a visit, he gives love bites.

Pretty Custard cat in profile

Even when Custard feels secure with a person, he can grow suspicious and scared around loud or unusual noises. Someone walked down the hall while wearing keys on a belt during my visit, for example, and Custard ran for the security of his bed.

That means Custard is a bad fit for noisy, bustling homes (like mine). He needs a space that's quiet and calm, so he can spend more time loving people and less time running away from them.

Custard does have excellent cat-to-cat skills, however. He is living with some fearful roommates who occasionally hiss at him. He completely ignores those noises, or he just adjusts his walking pattern to give that nervous cat more room. He might like cat companions in a new home.

Custard has been waiting for a home since April 10th, and given the way he behaves in the shelter, I worry that his wait will be even longer. Do you know of anyone who might like a Maine Coon and who would be willing to come to Oregon to get this guy? Please share his story. I'd love to see him get the home he deserves.


  1. How I wish I knew someone in Oregon. Custard is just scared, the poor guy, and needs someone to give him a chance. I bet with love and a loving home, he'll end up being a wonderful pet. It's a plus that he's good with other kitties. I truly hope he gets a forever and ever home and soon.

  2. My son and I are interested in Custard, and going to meet him on Thurs at WHS.

    1. How exciting! I hope you love him as much as I do.