Just wondering why people don't adopt the very scaredy cats

(38 Posts)
TillyWithercoat Sun 27-Jul-14 10:45:01

When a vacancy appears within my tribe you will not go above 6; you will not go above 6 I always visit the local sanctuaries and seek out the most needy cat - not talking about the serious cruelty case, but the one that others pass by because he's so terrified he's been hidden in a corner for a year, that type.

I've learnt that all these cats need is a quiet room to live in for a few months whilst they get to heal and trust again, and then they can start to enjoy life. Perhaps they'll never sit on my lap, but they'll be able to live life without fear and on their terms.

I appreciate that fok with young chidren may not have the time or inclination for this, but I don't understand why more people don't conisder these scaredy cats.

Any thoughts?

It's because you need to be 'rescue-minded' to do this. You're approaching cat ownership from the point of view of 'what can I do for the cat?' rather than 'what can the cat do for me?'

Lots of people just want cats that are easy and will provide them with affection. There is nothing wrong with that of course (as long as they choose to get them from rescues).

It's just that taking 'difficult' cats requires a different mindset. Not that difficult cats don't have their rewards of course. To me just seeing a cat looking happy and relaxed, where it has previously been stressed and afraid in a shelter for months or even years, is a reward in itself. And when a previously exceptionally shy/semi-feral decides it wants affection after all it seems all the more special.

So yes, it is always the shy/timid/not very sociable cats that have the hardest time getting homes and they're the ones that end up as the longest-stayers at shelters (or dead at those shelters that aren't 'no-kill'). Ugly cats, cats with limbs missing, old and ill cats, so long as they are friendly, all manage to pull at heart strings of potential adopters more than the timid ones. And it is a shame but I don't know really what can be done about it.

BertieBotts Sun 27-Jul-14 11:22:10

I suppose as well if a cat comes up to you and is friendly straight away you're more likely to think "Awww, this one is so cute!" or feel in some way that it's "chosen" you. You might not even see a more shy cat if it's hiding away in a sleeping area.

Branleuse Sun 27-Jul-14 11:22:30

because people prefer friendly pets in general?

i think when i was younger id probably have always gone for the one eyed three legged one and try and coax it back to health, but now im a bit more realistic about what i want from a pet, and i love a confident friendly animal and that suits my household and family.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Mon 28-Jul-14 11:59:26

We go for needy.

In fact I ring the rescue and ask which cat needs a home the most.
last time I got suckered into having a pair

My latest two had been in rescue for nearly a year and no one had looked at them.
When we went to collect them they were hiding in the back of the cattery and we couldn't see them properly.

She is very shy although he is a bit bolder. We've had then a fortnight and I can see them calming down and becoming happier. We see it as a long term thing, you don't get the instant gratification of a happy cat but you have the pleasure of seeing a shy cat blossom.

One of my other girls has been with us five years and she still doesn't always like me to stoke her, although DH is allowed to tickle her tummy.
When she does allow me to stroke her and rewards me with a purr I feel ridiculously pleased.

isseywithcats Mon 28-Jul-14 13:45:28

because when people come to a rescue center they have different types of families, some have children so a scaredy cat wouldnt fit into their household and wouldnt be fair on the cat, some want a particular sex of cat and the scaredy cat may not be the right sex, some want a particular colour, some people have busy loud houses, some want a kitten, luckily for all the scaredy cats there is usually someone who is the right person for them and yes it may take longer for them to find that person but somehow even the hardest cat to rehome seems to find the right home for them

Vitalstatistix Mon 28-Jul-14 13:58:39

I did. I got a cat that had been rescued from a very unwell owner and was as a result a very very nervous cat. He spent the first fortnight hiding in the cupboard in the kitchen and would only come out when we left the room.

It took a very long time but eventually he came to trust us and became a very loving cat with us but he always remained skittish around other people and particularly men.

My sister adopted a very challenging cat. She tells the story of going to choose one from the rescue and walking past this cat that hissed and spat at her. she said I'll have this one. The person said - are you sure? grin she's not very friendly. But she knew that nobody else would take on a cat like that and she wanted to give her a home.

That cat was AMAZING. The most personality I have ever known in an animal (and I've known a lot). very affectionate - on her terms. As likely to whack you as to headbump you but somehow that just added to the appeal of her (maybe we're weird I don't know)

They'd said that she hated children, but when my sister unexpectedly became pregnant some time later, there was no way on earth she was parting with her cat and, to everyone's amazement - the cat appointed herself protector and guardian of the baby and god help you if you went near her grin

I don't know why more people don't give timid or challenging cats a home because they can be very very rewarding. Maybe it's because you really have to understand cats and know what you are doing? Perhaps it's because they want an easy pet, I don't know. But there are some of us out there who do.

givemushypeasachance Mon 28-Jul-14 14:13:02

I've posted elsewhere on here about my two boys - adopted them four weeks ago, and while Rolo was coming out for cuddles and purring away within 24 hours, it's taken the best part of a month (and lots of being growled or hissed at) for me to even lay the lightest of hands on Monty where he's distracted by a toy or eating. I knew he was going to be more of a challenge as the shelter said he was extremely timid, and I could have picked an easier pair who were both more confident and friendly straight off. At times I've kind of wondered why I didn't!

But for his stand-offishness he's a real character and I've been enjoying getting to know him. It breaks my heart that the pair of them spent the first 9/10 months of their lives in the shelter because they were held back by being all-black boy kittens and Monty was so timid, and I was glad to give them a chance and a home. Equally I can see why many other people might think no, they want a friendly cuddly cat and not the one growling at them while hiding in its box. As I've been confirming for myself there's no instant fix when the cat is basically scared of all your kind advances, and you have to want to put the time and effort in. Kind of like a drive-it-off-the-forecourt car versus a fixer-upper! grin

Lovethesea Mon 28-Jul-14 21:14:29

I'd have loved to take the overlooked ones, but we rescued Huntercat when DS was not yet 2 and DD was 3. Ours was not going to be a therapeutic house for nervous felines.

Huntercat was bombproof with the kids (we took the kids to the rescue to meet the cats and see who could cope with preschoolers -. DS tried to feed him litter pellets, patted him, poked him in the eye gently saying Eye! Then Ear! Then DS dropped the water dish right behind Huntercat making a huge noise. The cat didn't even flinch, he still rubbed against DS and us all, liked being fussed and showed no nerves. We felt he chose us as we had tried a number of others but they ran or hissed at the kids.

And we didn't want a longhaired cat because I thought (wrongly) he'd shed everywhere. But he was such a perfect fit we had to get him home. Where he often sleeps on the kids beds, tolerates any tantrums and toys, doesn't mind the wrong kind of stroking and has been happy to have small helicopters landed on his side while relaxing. And has introduced the kids to more intestines than I ever thought possible.

Fuzzymum1 Tue 29-Jul-14 21:39:56

We have one cat that is very scaredy - she's been wit us since she was a kitten and has always been the same. SHe's scared even of us, but will once in a blue moon occasionally sit on one of us but is always on edge. We expect nothing from her and let her live her life in peace but she would very likely not get a second look (or even a first look as she'd probably be hiding) in a rescue. She's so scared of everything we have to give her diazepam to go to the vet for her boosters or she hides under the bed for two weeks afterwards - literally, she actually refuses to come out.

MsBug Tue 29-Jul-14 21:44:11

When we adopted our cat we didn't have DC but were out a lot, and had drunken parties friends over a lot, so didn't think it would be fair to home a nervous cat. However our cat had been in the rescue centre for ages probably because she bit people is a bit feisty

PolterGoose Wed 30-Jul-14 11:20:11

LastCat was a hard to home cat who'd attacked the rescue's vet and was at risk of being PTS, at that time it was just me and dp and we both worked so chose her, she was very independent and lived outside most of the year but would occasionally get on a lap. PolterCat was chosen under different circumstances, we live on a busy road and have a ds with an ASD who is prone to loud meltdowns (LastCat coped as she went deaf), so we needed a confident bombproof traffic aware cat, which we have got, he's fab and perfect for us.

polkadotdelight Wed 30-Jul-14 11:29:19

I chose the scaredycat because he was the longest staying resident at the rescue centre and one of the oldest. He adores us now (on his terms) but god help us if he ever needs anything 'doing'.

chockbic Wed 30-Jul-14 11:32:33

Look at that face smile

We had two scaredy cats, one a rescue, who remained shy with other people but not us.

They soon got their little paws under the table.

EddieVeddersfoxymop Wed 30-Jul-14 11:35:01

We have a scaredy cat. She was feral, collected by a rescue centre, rehomed then abandoned again, all by the time she was 13 weeks old.

She's still a terrified wee moggy, but somehow she's coped with the arrival of DD and they are utterly inseparable now. My dd is 6, and very sensitive to a timid cats needs. But puss is getting old now, and when she's gone I worry if a shelter would allow us to take the scaredy ones due to the prescence of an unknown 6 year old. We know that it would be fine as my dd is so quiet and calm, but the shelter doesn't.......

LizzieMint Wed 30-Jul-14 11:39:47

My rescue cat wasn't so much scaredy as very aggressive and unhappy. I was single and childless at the time so was happy to take her on, I wouldn't have an aggressive cat now with 3 small children in the house - wouldn't be fair on them or the cat.

My girl had been abandoned sealed in a box with another cat (she was a kitten at the time) and had been at the rescue centre for nearly a year because she hated being with other cats and couldn't be rehomed anywhere where there was already a pet. After she came to live with me, she transformed into the most gorgeous, contented, fluffy lap-cat. She adored people and cuddles but always hated other cats.
I miss her. sad

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 30-Jul-14 11:45:58

Because my two DC would terrify them.

CMOTDibbler Wed 30-Jul-14 11:50:39

Two of ours were long term residents - evilgingercat had been there a year, stroppymadam 18 months - her kittens were all taken quickly and she is very damaged. Evilgingercat was our third from cpl and they knew we could cope with him. He's lovely, but still very feisty and fights with anyone - he had been hit and kicked in his previous life though and it shows

TillyWithercoat Wed 30-Jul-14 15:00:51

I'm really heartened by your stories. I always think I'm the only person who wants the scaredy cats, and always feel bad that I can't take them all.

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 15:03:27

I only ever take the ones I think no one wants.

And I think they know that and spend their lives giving me joy in return.

evuscha Wed 30-Jul-14 20:19:18

I think it also depends on a rescue center - some are better at promoting the scaredy cats than others. I visited a few of them when choosing a second cat to join my existing playful friendly (indoor) cat and some of the rescue centers would actually only actively show me the friendly cats while the timid ones were hiding away. So of course most people would choose the friendly ones who come up and play with them. (I do understand this when choosing a cat for busy household with kids btw)

I ended up adopting a cat from a fairly small rescue center where the lady told me each cat´s story and moved furniture to show me this shy cat who was hiding under it. He was a lovely all-black 1 year old, in the rescue center since he was a kitten, very shy for the first month, in the first week at his new home he wouldn´t even come out to eat. Two months in and he is extremely sweet, waits for when I wake up and approaches me for cuddles, very playful with my first cat and generally happy and relaxed. He still does not like to be held (so I am yet to cut his claws) and while he is fine with me, he is not sure about new people...but he is not hiding anymore - keeping distance yes but still keeping us company when I have visitors. Very rewarding!

Btw this is a great rescue cat related comic smile

BigcatLittlecat Wed 30-Jul-14 21:20:39

Our big girl cat was a rescue cat who had been at the centre for 6 months. She was very aggressive and she scratched the lady who was showing her to us. The lady couldn't believe we chose her but my grumpy don't show any feelings DH later said he couldn't have left her there! She had obviously been very badly treated but she became the best cat ever. loving quirky, very nosy and she loved us! Hated everyone else! We had 10 years with her until she became ill just 2 weeks ago. We had to put her to sleep and we are still heartbroken! I've never seen DH so sad.
So keeping in the rescue family we got from the same centre a 14 week old black kitten who is at the moment eating my toes! She was found in a box with her sisters apparently 6/12 hours away from not surviving! We've had her a week and already a real character!

Egog Wed 30-Jul-14 21:28:23

My little scaredy-cat was rescued from a bin-bag in the canal - she lived behind the washing machine for a good month when we brought her home from the rescue centre.

When we went to choose a cat she freaked out in her little pen and clawed my arm - the lady in charge went to walk us away, apologizing for her, but we just couldn't leave her there!

8 years later she's a little horror who has to be involved in EVERYTHING - she likes to sleep on your head, and will happily pat you into place with her paw until she can get comfortable. We're expecting our first baby at the moment and she's very protective of my bump, cuddling up and purring at it when the baby has hiccups.

Chiana Thu 31-Jul-14 04:23:23

A lot depends on how calm a home you can offer a scaredycat, as another poster said upthread.

Cat #1 and his late brother were both scaredycats whom DH and I adopted 11 years ago when we bought our first flat (before that we were living in rented accommodation with no pets allowed, boo hiss. We are much nicer landlords than our old landlord was). 11 years ago we went for the hard cases because we thought nobody else would want them, especially with needing to be adopted together. They gradually mellowed.

Cat #2 we adopted when DS was 2 and DD was a baby, as company for Cat #1 after his brother died and he was pining. We went for the unflappable sort of cat who didn't mind toddler and baby screaming and rough cuddles. There were several needier cats at the rescue at the time whom we felt very guilty about leaving behind, but we thought our house would probably be a stressful environment for them.

Cat #3 we still haven't officially adopted yet, although it's just a matter of time before we formalise the foster arrangement into an adoption. DH has always been opposed on principle to us having more cats than we have kids, but I'm wearing him down. We assumed Cat #3 would be a short term foster because we thought our house was far too hectic for her. We only took her in because she was an injured stray, and she was so skittish everybody thought she'd do terribly in a house with kids, but the rescue needed to put her somewhere temporarily while she recovered. Somehow we never got round to giving her back.

She remains utterly terrified of DD, who is 5 and boisterous. She scuttles out of the room when DD comes in, which hurts poor DD's feelings. But Cat #3 has bonded closely with DS, who is 7 and the quiet, shy type. He's very proud that he's tamed her, which is one of the reasons I think DH will be worn down. He knows as well as I do that DS would never forgive us if we let Cat #3 be adopted by someone else!

Lally112 Thu 31-Jul-14 04:33:47

Because not everyone can provide for that cats needs, I would love to have a quiet room for the cat but I don't even have a quiet room for myself 90% of the time (not even when I go for a wee) so its not really fair on a cat who is already traumatised and as you put it 'scaredy' to be face with 4 kids, 2 other big nasty cats, a dog in the house, more dogs outside and 4 hens. This is only likely to make scaredy cat into terrified cat with no quality of life really.

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