Feral to Forever
My pet adoption journey started in December when I just absolutely had to have a cat. I have had cats my whole life. When I was little we had two lovely cats and in high school I adopted a kitten at the same time as my sister. The two kitten ended up bonded in a short time so when I moved for university my little cat stayed with my sister (and her new cat sister). All of the cats we’ve had have been rescues.
Let me start by saying that there are over 600,000 cats in Canada that need homes. In the most recent poll from 2016 there were 20,753 cats euthanized as a form of “population control”. That number is 5 times the amount of dogs euthanized in the same year. Simply put, cats aren’t getting homes. Instead, they are living in our communities under trash cans, in forests, and around our back alley ways with up to 5 kittens each.
On a more positive note, there is one local (to me) cat rescue program that is taking feral, starving cats off our streets and giving them forever homes with loving local families. The Okanagan cat coalition is a group of amazing individuals who have dedicated their lives to the humane trapping, veterinary care, and rehoming of these cats. The OKCC has volunteers all over the Okanagan that use humane “traps” to take the cats and kittens from their feral cat communities into safe places. I don’t like the word “trap” for what they do but essentially that’s what’s happening in a humane way. The cats are lured into harm free cages and then transported to veterinary clinics where they are given all necessary care including spay and neuter procedures.
When I began looking for a cat my first thought was SPCA. I think that’s usually our obvious first thought when we think of rescuing. However when I heard about the OKCC I immediately jumped onto their Facebook page to see their beautiful kitties. Their Facebook page is awesome and up to date and they have albums of photos of their adoptable cats and kittens as well a cute pictures of their happy re homed adopted babies.
I opened the adoptable album and the first cat I saw caught me right away. I was obsessed with him at first glance. His name was Tarzan and he was in town with a foster family just waiting for me to love him.
This was his photo:
I immediately got on my phone and started contacting the foster family to find a time to meet him. The next night I got in the car with my mom and my boyfriend and we were heading the the foster home to go meet little Tarzan. When we arrived he was sitting, perched handsomely actually, on an arm chair that was covered in duct tape (looking back that was for sure because he claws everything to shreds). I walked over to him and he began to kick me immediately and let me pet him all over. He was the one.
A quick note about Tarzan’s foster family, this man goes out and rescues feral cat communities. When I say communities I mean like multiple mom cats get together for survival. He has his own cages and he contacts the OKCC when he goes out to save them, then they arrange vet care. So above all of the he also has up to wait for it…30 yeah 30 cats in his home at once!!!!
This is another one of his baby pics
So after my love at first sight meeting with little Tarzan, who’s name I changed, I filled out the necessary application. The application is standard it asks questions about your home, your family, and makes you sign saying the cat won’t go outdoors and won’t be declawed. We went home to await my phone call from the OKCC to see if I was accepted or not.
The phone call was just to check in, review the application, and for the head of the OKCC to get to know you before giving you a kitten. I think essentially the head of the OKCC and the foster talk and decide if you’re a good fit. I love the fostering for so many reasons but one of them is that those families get to know the cat so well and they can really give you the details on their personality and make a decision if you’ll be a good fit.
Tarzan’s foster really wanted him to go to a quiet home. As he was feral and his mom has (as far as we know) always been feral and having feral babies) he still had some hesitations around humans and could be shy he was also a little bit anxious with loud or unexpected sounds (still is honestly). Thankfully they decided that I was a perfect fit for him!
I went to get him the next night. I stocked up on awesome pet gear at winners and Bosley’s. (Bosley’s is also a partner with the OKCC and they host adoption events at their stores with cats and kittens from the OKCC.
Finally the little fur baby was mine. We took him home and he was very shy at first. We gave him his own room in our suite where he had everything set up. I figured for the first few days he wouldn’t leave that space very much and I was right. We have him some personal space to explore and adjust to his new home and visited with him every hour or so to make sure he was okay. We left the doors open of course be he never ventured out of the room. It took our new baby, who I named Samson but has since gone by Mr. Sweet Sweet because he is the SWEETEST, a few weeks before he fully adjusted to being with us.
When you adopt a new cat, or any animal, it’s really important to practice patience. Being taken out of a home and moved to somewhere else with new people has got to be such a scary experience for these little guys. We remained patient with Mr. Sweet Sweet and he has given us so much joy since we adopted him.
Here is a list of his favourite things:
1. Raiding my makeup bag in search of hair ties and eyelash spoolies
2. Drinking from the sink
4. Climbing the walls (I see why they called him Tarzan)
5. Scratching the blinds
6. Waking us up at 4 am
8. Sniffing feet
9. Playing with his purple ball
10. More snuggling
11. Being clean
14. Sleeping in a new spot
16. Being our fur baby.
For those interested, my vet has told me that he is a tabby mix and has Maine Coon in him so we expect him to get even bigger than his already chubby 13 pounds. His mom was tiny tabby lady and he unfortunately got her back legs. His hind legs are so stubby that he can barely jump to save his life but he’s cute and hilarious when he tries. He’s just over a year old we celebrated his birthday in May!
please consider adopting or fostering cats if you can! There are so many that need our help and I promise they’ll bring you so much happiness. I can not imagine my life without this baby. He is my best little snuggle butt and I can’t believe I ever survived without his constant loves. I promise to post more about Mr. Sweet Sweet soon!