Tuesday, February 06, 2007
February 6As a foster parent of many kittens over the past several years, we have accumulated more pictures than I care to share with you. Every year I send a few of these off to Cat Fancy to see if they would be interested in putting them in their Year-in-A-Box Calendar. A few have been selected but this year's selection was extra special. Cat Fancy probably thought they were picking a cute photo of two kitties wrapped around each other. What they didn't know was how one had saved the other.
Like a lot of other kittens, Oreo (aka Daisy) was brought to the Oakland SPCA after being dropped off at another shelter. She was alone and scared. Where her physical health was good, she was so emotionally traumatized that she had lost her will to live. She had spent about a week being pampered by the staff and pretty much lived in the Volunteer Office. One day CS saw us while we were working our shift at the shelter and asked if we would consider taking her. We already had a litter of four healthy kittens at home, but CS thought the stimulation of our large family and the other kittens might be good for her. So we took her home. We had never experienced a kitten like her before. She did not move, except to eat and use the litter box. If you laid her somewhere and came back three hours later, she would still be laying there. We carried her around the house, stroked her and tried to cuddle with her. And when we were busy, we put her in the kitty bed where the other fosters slept. And that is where Leo found her. Leo was a six week old, orange tabby male, and he immediately recognized how scared she was. He would crawl in bed with her and when she hissed at him, he would crawl out. He would patiently wait for her to fall asleep and then he would try again. Eventually she let him stay. And when he stayed all the other kittens would pile on in too, leaving her at the bottom, covered with kittens, not sure what to do. Next Leo started grooming Oreo. And she let him. One day, after she had been with us about two weeks, I rolled a ball past her and she reached out one paw and swiped at it. It was a huge victory. A few days later we caught her up and playing with the same ball. And within a week, Oreo and Leo were inseparable and she was following him everywhere.
Leo was ready to be returned to the shelter long before Oreo was ready, so sadly he returned first. We hated separating them. Although Oreo was very noise sensitive, she continued to do well. After another month it was determined she was ready to return for her adoption. She was sent to Tri Valley where the adoption habitats would be easier on her. She was there about a week when we came to visit her. She was sitting on a perch and overjoyed to see us. As we left she went to the top of her condo and watched us leave. When we returned a few days later she was up on the condo again, watching everyone that entered that door and waiting. And that is where we think she might have been the first morning of the Fall Adopt-a-Thon when a woman came in looking for a cat or small dog. She said she looked over, locked eyes with Oreo and felt a connection. Oreo snuggled with her, purred and won her heart. The woman lived in a small, quiet home and had never had a pet before. When the shelter called her a few weeks later, Oreo had settled in and they were living happily together.
We thought it was quite fitting that Leo and Oreo would end up in February, a month filled with Love.
Contributed by the King Family, an extraordinary family of foster volunteers!