Last month was an amazing month for cats at Willamette Humane Society in Salem. Due to the generosity of a donor in the community, senior cats and cats with disabilities had waived adoption fees, so they could head home with no cost to the adopters. Specials like this tend to clear the shelter, and it makes everyone who touches that shelter feel just a little happier. I was thrilled to see King Dude and Static go home on this plan.
But there are always cats that slide through the cracks and don't find the families they need. That's what happened to this guy.
His name is Bagheera, and he came into the shelter system in October. When he arrived, he was simply untouchable. He growled, hissed and swatted whenever anyone tried to look at him. The team thought he must have been a feral cat for all of his life, since he seemed so upset at the thought of being touched by humans. But they gave him time to settle, just to see what would happen.
In time, Bagheera did let some volunteers and staffers interact with him, and when the team performed an intake exam, they found that he had terrible teeth and an open wound on his face. He also had a suspicious lump on his back end.
In surgery, that face abscess and those rotten teeth were corrected. The pain may have made Bagheera upset about being touched. But that lump in the back was caused by pellets from a BB gun. That means this cat was shot by someone at some point. It's no wonder he didn't like people!
Suspicious cats have trouble with life in a shelter, because they have very little control. They can't run away from situations that worry them, and they can't get closer to things they like. Bagheera was a bit of a bite risk, even after his surgeries, as he remained worried about new people.
So he moved into the office of the volunteer manager, and it's here that he's really blossomed. Apparently, he spends most of his day sitting on the laps of these two ladies, hugging them with his arms, rubbing them with his face and purring with all his might. They tell me it's sometimes overwhelming, how much love he has to give. He wants to soak it all in, all the time.
My first shelter rescue Troy was like this in the shelter. He mellowed out at home quite a bit. He still wanted to spend time with me and love me, but he wasn't overwhelming with his demands. It's as though he knew I would always be there to love him, so he didn't need to binge on love when he saw me. I would expect the same will happen with Bagheera.
But he needs someone who can handle a cat that hisses and spits during a first meet and greet. And he needs a family that understands that this traumatized cat may always be a little aloof with strangers and a little overwhelmed with new people, places and things. He may always be a cat that needs a place to hide and time alone when he is scared. If his family provides those things, he should do just fine.
Bagheera is about 7yo, and his adoption fee is $50. Read more about him on the WHS website, and please share his story. We need to get this boy into a forever home. He deserves it.