It was a really cold wintery night back in November 2007 when we got a call about a very handsome red tabby cat who had been left in a feral colony.
It was a really cold wintery night back in November 2007 when we got a call about a very handsome red tabby cat who had been left in a feral colony. One of the groups that does roundups (trapping all the cats, having them altered and then returned) realized this poor, frightened cat was definitely not a feral, but rather a very scared cat who was once someone’s pet and was abandoned in the colony to fend for himself. Whoever did this certainly did not know (at least I hope), Carat would not be accepted by the colony and they would not allow him to share food or space with them. He would be treated as a pariah and picked on at every turn.
And so one of our foster homes was willing to take him and try to work with him.
Carat (named for his beautiful gold coloring), had the saddest eyes. He hid all the time, but was never mean nor aggressive. Without a doubt, he did not belong in a feral population, but it was doubtful he would ever come around again enough to trust another human. We were quite certain Carat was destined to live his life as a foster cat, well taken care of, but without that special human companionship we felt he deserved after everything he has gone through.
But who would adopt a cat they could not even touch? Was there anyone who had that much patience and love in their heart for one poor, forgotten, adult kitty?
Enter Dave Rose.
First of all, we all assume it would be a woman who will give the time and patience needed to bring about a change in a very frightened animal, so I was surprised when I found out it was a gentleman that adopted Carat. He was able to see how handsome Carat was, but he was not able to touch him. In fact, when Dave came back to pick Carat up, he was in a carrier waiting for him, because it had taken so long for the foster home to get him and put him into a carrier. But it was near Christmas 2007, and we had asked for a special home for Carat for the holidays, and it seemed that we got one. I never believed for a minute Mr. Rose would keep Carat, much less be able to bring him around, but I was thankful Carat would have his own space for the holidays, and I hoped for the best.
The first report came right after Christmas. He had been in his new home for three weeks and there was no progress to report. Carat would not come near his new owner and, in fact, he either hid under the bed or under the TV stand. He would tentatively venture out of his hiding spots to eat or use the litter, but if he saw Dave, he immediately hid again. Dave would get on the floor so as not to appear too tall and overbearing, and he would talk quietly to Carat. It seemed to have no effect, and the new owner was looking for some words of wisdom and guidance. Of course, it had only been three weeks and the scars this cat carried needed a lot more time to heal.
In January, we received another update that let us know Carat was coming out of hiding and getting used to his new home. He would not let Dave touch him, but he was laying out in plain sight and not running to hide everytime the human came into the room. This was progress, although minimal.
Hope for Carat
In July, we received an e-mail lifted our hearts and gave us hope for our feline rescue. Carat had started to allow Dave to pet and play with him. One day there was a breakthrough, and Carat meowed for the first time. He started going through Dave’s legs and brushing up against him, marking Dave as his own. After he did this several times, Dave reached down and started petting him and scratching his neck.
Sept. 1, nine months after Carat was adopted, Dave let us know he was able to pick his cat up. Carat was demanding attention and everytime Dave walked into a room, he would meow at him and do a lot of head butting until he got that attention. He was chasing tennis balls and sharing chicken, which he was willing to take out of Dave’s hands. Both cat and human seemed to be extremely happy, and Dave was thrilled at the difference nine months of love and patience could make.
Sept. 20, we received our last report about Carat. He was allowing himself to be brushed and rewarded Dave’s love with his satisfied purring. This was the final step in a very long journey. Dave’s e-mail thanked Helping Paws for making Carat available to him. He said he knew Carat was a special cat and he recognized that in the frightened kitty he brought home. One of his original reasons for adopting Carat was his fear that a forever home would never be found for him because of his history. Carat and Dave have both succeeded beyond our wildest dreams and we are sharing this Christmas miracle with you.
Perhaps as you are making your New Year’s resolutions, you might consider adopting one of our other scared and lonely abandoned kitties we have had for months, and make a difference in one more life? It is a truly rewarding experience.