After 2 weeks without our dear cat, Wallace, we knew we wanted to adopt another cat. This time an adult. Adults are sometimes hard to place. It would be our very first adult adoption. We thought it would be easy - since there are so many wonderful pets needing a home. Generally you just needed to whisper ... hey, I might want to adopt an animal ... and the array of choices is made available to you.
Not so during a pandemic. All the rules change. Not only can you not just walk into a shelter without an appointment, but the selection of animals is much reduced. Apparently adoptions are way up in this time of self isolation according to the shelter we used. That bit of knowledge I found concerning. After all, we aren't always going to be self isolated. This is a temporary measure. But pets are not temporary. What happens after everyone returns to work??
To spread the adoption net as far as I could I let everyone know we were looking - including our vet. After 3 days of waiting for a nibble on my 'adoption fishing net' I started looking at shelters online myself.
I found a site near us called Small Miracles. They had four adult cats - all female - between the ages of 2-4. I sent an email. No response. I filled out the online application form and sent it with a second email. No response. I called and left a message. No response. (Seriously - how serious were they about finding homes if I had to work this hard?) One of my neighbors works there as a volunteer. I emailed her. She said she would contact them - and sure enough the shelter emailed me back. We made an appointment.
It was at Small Miracles where we met Asia. She is a 4 year old orange tabby - a tiny little beauty. As we walked toward her cage she was sitting in a haunch position in her litter - a sign that she was not at ease. When we reached the cage and poked our fingers through - she came to us and began rubbing and purring. The shelter rep said she seemed friendly, no sign of aggression, does hiss at times but they interpreted as an anxiety response. From the look of her body language at my first sight of her, I agreed. When I asked how long she was there - they said 2 weeks. My heart fell for this pretty girl who was obviously not at ease there and had been release by her previous owner (she was moving) from a home environment to this painful impersonal situation. At least her owner took her to a "no kill" shelter, but I can't even imagine what Asia was thinking during those two weeks. Two weeks is a long time when you are miserable.
I should say, I am terrible at shelter visits. I am motivated to adopt everything in sight. My heart goes out to any animal that is forced to stay there more than a few days. I hate the look and feel of animal shelters. They are noisy, not terribly clean and personal interaction with the animals seems limited to meeting just physical needs as opposed to emotional ones. And that is the situation for all the animals that shelters deem as 'adoptable.' You usually don't see the ones who aren't adoptable. I get it ... I really do ... no time to give full attention to any one little being. Just a sad environment all around for me.
Asia came home with us that very day.
The shelter staff said she hissed at them when she was put in our carrier. Pretty sure it was anxiety, they said.
The trip home was pretty quiet. She tried pushing against the carrier, but mostly just sat still looking all around. When we got home, we took her right into our bedroom and bathroom combination - her home until she was relaxed enough to explore the rest of the condo.
Upon being released, she did a fast scan of the two rooms (looking for monsters I am sure 😟,) took note of the litter box and the water, and then slipped under the bed.
Next up ... pictures and her first 24 hours.