Approved adopters can schedule an appointment to meet our available cats. You do not need to choose a specific cat, but you do need to have an appointment.
Some cats make you despair. Two-year old Herbie used to be one of those cats.
Herbie came to us at the very end of 2022 with several other cats from a home that had far too many cats, and no ability to care for all of them. Two of the cats were friendly and easy and were adopted quickly. Two of the cats required work, but we aren't afraid of work. After a little time, they decided that they loved people and playing and treats. And they were soon adopted.
Then there was Herbie. Herbie was terrified. He didn't eat for days. We had to syringe feed him. After that he ate on his own, but sat in the back of the cage trying to make himself invisible. When startled or touched he would lash out. On one occasion when he felt trapped, he was so scared that he darted out of his cage and ran repeatedly face first into a glass door.
Herbie seemed to have missed the critical socialization step where he should have learned to trust people and human touch. Perhaps he was overlooked because of the sheer number of cats in the home. Perhaps he spent the first year of his life hiding and trying to survive on whatever food the other cats left. We don't know. We do know that he hated the shelter and was miserable.
Keeping him did not seem kind. But what could we do? The people who surrendered him couldn't take him back and we knew it wasn't a good situation for him anyway. He could not be placed in a good barn situation because he had never been outside and had no idea how to survive on his own. He clearly wasn't safe to put up for adoption and we didn't have an available foster home who could devote the time that Herbie needed. Medication was tried, but seemed to make no difference.
But despairing doesn’t help cats. So we moved Herbie into our Behavior Assessment Room (the BAR) and worked with him every day, trying to find something that he would like enough to voluntarily interact with us. We figured out that he liked a particular bisque treat. Not enough to take it from a spoon but enough to be happy when he saw us coming with it. Then enough to take a bite on an 18 inch extendable spoon that a volunteer held. Then- gradually- with the spoon shortened. After a few weeks Herbie took a step closer to a volunteer for a bite of his favorite snack. It was just a few inches- but it meant the world. It meant that Herbie could choose people.
By April, Herbie was tolerating petting while he got his treat. And he started to like other things. Squeeze ups. Baby food. Wand toys. By May he had started to leave his condo to explore the BAR. And after that his confidence grew by leaps and bounds.
Herbie has spent the summer in general population with the other cats. He has bravely climbed cat trees. He tried catnip. (Definitely a fan!) He played. A lot. Turns out Herbie absolutely loves to play. He learned to meow greetings at his favorite volunteers. In fact, Herbie seems to be slowly learning all of the things that he should have learned during that all important kitten socialization period. For the first time in months- maybe in his life- Herbie was truly happy. And we were thrilled!
This week- for the very first time- Herbie solicited attention, rubbing up against a few of his favorite volunteers for a pet! This is huge. He voluntarily sought physical affection from a person. He didn't just accept petting, he decided that he wanted to be touched!
We now think that Herbie is ready for a forever home with the right person or people. Herbie loves to play, running and jumping after his favorite wire mouse toy. He will climb on your lap and let you pet him for a spoonful of baby food or a squeeze up. He has started to purr.
But make no mistake, Herbie is still a project. If you go to touch him without food, he is still likely to hit you or run away. Picking him up is currently out of the question. He is fearful of every new noise, every new person, every new experience. And he has been hit or miss with other cats. He can share space fine with other cats as long as they don't get too close. But he is bullied by some of the other cats who chase him for fun and he will smack a cat who tries to cuddle with him.
Herbie has come a long way…. an amazingly long way… from the cat who ran face first into a glass door in abject terror. But this is still a cat who likely spent the first year of his life hiding from both people and cats, and who spent the first half of his second year huddled in the back of his condo.
Herbie will need a quiet home where he can be kept in a single room to start. He will need a person who is willing to spend an hour or two a day just sitting with him, reading, working, and earning his trust. Toys will help. Treats will help more. But there are no shortcuts with Herbie. It will take time. It will take work. It may take a lot of work. You may despair.
But in return for your time and work, you will get to see Herbie blossom into the cat he was always meant to be. You will get a loving, joyful companion who will greet you at the door with a demanding meow, leap about in utter abandon after a toy, and climb into your lap for a treat. You will get to see fear turn to confidence, loneliness turn to contentment, despair turn to hope. You will get to show a cat what love means, and to watch him decide to take a chance and love you back. We know you will because we have seen all of that and so much more.
We understand that Herbie is not the cat for everyone. Frankly, he is not the cat for most people. But as we often say, we only need one adopter, if it’s the right one.
If you think you might be the right adopter for Herbie and you want to find out more or make a special appointment to meet him, please start by filling out the application at www.poainc.org. If you have an approved application, please email POAplacement@gmail.com. If Herbie is not the cat for you, please consider spreading the word about him so that the right person can find him.
To find out more or to make it an appointment to meet the available cats. Please fill out our application at www.poainc.org. If you have an approved application simply email POAplacement@gmail.com. And please spread the word so that Star can find her forever home.
Adoptions are now done by appointment only. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and an appointment. Cats are not being put on hold for a specific adopter. Adoptions are done on a first-come/first-served basis by appointment only.