Sunday, May 7, 2017

Shelter cat respite: Giving an adult cat a break from shelter life

Pumpkin Spice the cat

Does this face look familiar to you? It might, if you're an avid reader of this blog. Pretty tabby kitty here is Pumpkin Spice, and she played a key role in a Shelter Cat Stories blog I did a few weeks back. She's been parked in my guest bedroom for a day or two now. And if you've ever wanted to help a shelter cat before, but you weren't quite sure how to get started, we may have some ideas for you.

Pumpkin is a relatively young cat, and like a lot of shelter cats, she came into the system with some health problems. She spent quite a bit of time trying to get healthy, and that means she has spent quite a bit of time in kennels and cages being poked and prodded by humans.

Pumpkin Spice cat with toys

Like many young cats, Pumpkin has a ton of energy. She loves to run and romp and play, and that's really hard to do in a kennel environment. So she got frustrated, and she started making a few bad choices.

Pumpkin really can't take the blame here, and nor can the shelter. This is just an unfortunate situation in which cat health, shelter systems and cat behaviors collide. But volunteers like me can help.

Pumpkin is here on a respite from the shelter. She's playing with toys, stretching her little legs, eating her food, sleeping in comfy beds and just taking things easy. She's remembering what it's like to be a cat.

And I am assessing what this former stray cat would be like in an average home. I've learned that Pumpkin is afraid of dogs, for example. And I've learned that she's very curious about other cats, including Lucy. Look at her peeping through the door!

Pumpkin Spice the cat peering through the door

Pumpkin is a Manx (as you can see), and she's a tiny girl at about 6 pounds. In theory, she should be able to tolerate life in a kennel just fine. She's so little. But clearly, cats like this appreciate time away. And many shelters have respite programs, in which long-timers get to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle and catch their breath. I'm thrilled to be able to do this for Pumpkin. And I hope she gets a home soon.

Pumpkin is still very much an adoptable cat, and I'm hoping that sharing her story here in the blog hop by The Cat On My Head helps to give her some exposure. If you know of anyone who can take in a young, playful, gorgeous little Manx cat and who would be willing to come to Oregon to Willamette Humane Society to pick her up, PLEASE get in touch. And if you can't adopt, do share her story.

And don't forget to join the blog hop! You'll be glad you did.

20170519 update: Adopted! I wish little Pumpkin nothing but happiness in her new home. 


  1. That's a great job you are doing to help Pumpkin Spice,xx Speedy

  2. Pumpkin is so lovely, and I also hope this additional exposure will help her get the loving home she needs and wants. It's so nice of you to give her this respite from shelter life.

  3. That is nice of you to help Pumpkin, she is a cutie.

  4. She is such a pretty girl, we sure wish she could find a home. We think being in a kennel 24/7 would be really hard no matter how small you are.

  5. Wishing Pumpkin the home she deserves soon. So glad she got some time out of the shelter.

  6. She's so sweet. We wish her forever home would come soon.

    The Florida Furkids

  7. Wow, I love this idea!!! Pumpkin Spice sure is a beauty (and I adore her name!)

  8. I never thought about respite care for us cats, but this is a brilliant idea and I can see how valuable it is in the adoption stakes. I hope she gets that forever home very soon.
    Purrs, ERin

  9. What a wonderful thing you are doing to host Pumpkin for a bit. It's a terrific idea to give kitties like her a respite from the shelter, which we must imagine is tough for so many cats. We hope she finds her happily ever after real soon.

  10. What a great idea, getting a cat out from the cattery and letting her stretch her little legs and play.

    I hope Pumpkin finds a good home soon!!1

  11. Hope Pumpkin gets a forever home soon.

    Shared :)

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  12. It's a great idea getting shelter cats out of the shelter even if it's for a few days. We did this with one of our shelter cats a few months ago. She stayed here for a little over a week and really enjoyed her time.

  13. This is a great thing you are doing for Pumpkin. Not only are you making her feel better for a while, you can give prospective 'forever' homes a head start with her, knowing she doesn't do doggies but she is all in for other kitties. Also, the high energy level suits some homes and not others. Wonderful job.