Category: cat adoption

Another Cat Proves We’ve Been Seriously Underestimating His Species’ Intelligence

Rabbit the stray seemed to know which humans would help him out.

The street-savvy cat would wait in front of a convenience store, sitting patiently on the sidewalk until he saw a person who would give him a smile or a pat on the head. Then, with Kitty Mind Control Mode enabled, he’d lead his new human minion into the store, guide them to the pet food aisle, and point to his favorite food.

Here’s video of Rabbit in action:

When I saw this, my reaction was sadness: From his familiarity with people to his preference for store-bought cat food, Rabbit was clearly someone’s pet, either lost or abandoned. He’d faced hardship. He was skinny, his snow white fur was dirty, and there was only a stump where his tail should have been.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

Tania Lizbeth Santos Coy Tova, a 33-year-old teacher who lives in Mexico, had encountered Rabbit a few times before. She decided to ask about the cat.

“Every time he came to the store, we greeted each other and did the same, he guided me to the shelf and chose the food he wanted,” she said.

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Rabbit inside the store, pointing to the yums he wants.

From a story in UK’s Metro:

The managers of the store explained to Tania that the stray always did the same thing with customers. He understood specific hours and waited until a kind passerby would take pity on him and purchase some food.

Santos Coy Tova wanted to see if Rabbit had a home, so she and a friend followed the friendly cat after encountering him one day. When Santos Coy Tova saw the little guy return to an abandoned house, she decided he’d be coming home with her.

For those of us interested in animal intelligence — and feline smarts in particular — this story is fascinating.

Rabbit knew where cat food was purchased, was good enough at reading human body and facial language to reliably find friendly people who were willing to help, and he knew which package his favorite food came in. In addition, he knew that pointing to the package would draw a person’s attention to it.

He wouldn’t have been able to pull that off without the ability to plan ahead and think in the abstract. He also understood the food had to be purchased, or at least that a human had to get it for him. In the video he doesn’t just leap up at the package and take it, he points and looks back toward his person. That also shows he possesses theory of mind, that he understands humans and other animals have a subjective point of view.

This isn’t happening in a research lab environment, true, but it never could have. These are a unique set of circumstances showing cats understand more than they let on — a lot more.

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A much healthier-looking rabbit in his new home. Great job, little guy!

 

Shelter Throws A Birthday Party For An Adoptable Cat, No One Shows Up

To our British readers,

Employees at a South London shelter threw a birthday party for a two-year-old cat who’s been in the shelter for 115 days, and not one of you jerks showed up.

Look at her. Just look at this beautiful tabby girl, hopeless and dejected because none of you soulless people could find it in your heart to drop by for a cuppa and kibble. Notice the sad little eyes, their accusatory glance seeming to say: “You’ve failed me, British people! I just wanted a forever home!”

I mean, we all know you guys can be cold, but who thought you’d be this heartless and cruel?

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Poor Monique had no one to celebrate with. Credit: Battersea Dogs and Cats

Has our guilt trip made you feel bad yet? 🙂

On a more serious note, this was actually a clever move by the shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats. With tens of thousands of adoptable animals on sites like Petfinder and Craigslist, and every rescue contending for attention, shelter staff have to think creatively to break through the noise and help get their strays and abandoned pets into real homes.

In 2020, the cat who becomes a meme is rewarded with a home of her own, and the shelter also benefits with a bump in exposure and potential new donors.

In that sense, the birthday party didn’t fail at all: Monqiue the tabby will almost certainly find a real home soon thanks to follow-up articles and the attention they’ve brought to her story.

CATS GOING VIRAL

We’ve seen plenty of shelter stories go viral over the past year: There was Nevada, the sweet abandoned tabby who just wanted a hug, a surrender named Barsik who was dubbed “New York’s fattest cat” at a whopping 41 pounds, a fellow Chonkster named Bazooka whose dementia-inflicted former human fed him constantly, and Plankton, who proved good things come to those who wait when he finally found a home after 2,432 days at a New York shelter.

Perhaps the best example of clever cat marketing was a North Carolina rescue’s adoption ad for the “world’s worst cat.” The scowling black-and-white Perdita was a “jerk,” according to Mitchell County Animal Shelter’s sarcastic and highly amusing ad.

The listing worked, quickly going viral on Facebook and prompting more than 50 local applications within 24 hours.

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Perdita quickly found a forever home thanks to her viral post. Credit: Mitchell County Animal Shelter

Monique has tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, according to the shelter, and undoubtedly her bad luck can be chalked up to fewer adopters willing to take a cat with FIV. Despite that, Monique is expected to live a long and full life.

Here’s to hoping she finds her very own humans soon.

All photos courtesy of Battersea Dog and Cats. Click the thumbnails for larger versions:

Plankton The Cat Has A Home After 2,432 Days In The Shelter

We’d like to offer a special congratulations to the SPCA, two kind-hearted adopters, and especially Plankton the cat for finding a forever home after a long, long wait.

Plankton had a rough start to life: He was one of about 100 kittens and cats rescued from a hoarding situation in a two-bedroom apartment in late 2013 and suffered renal failure. For years, potential pet parents passed up on the handsome black-coated little dude because of his condition, and the thrice-weekly infusion of liquids he needs to stay healthy, even though staff at the shelter say he takes the infusions like a champ.

Ashlee Haughtaling read about Plankton in a Feb. 15 article by the Kingston Daily Freeman, a New York newspaper covering the mostly-rural Ulster County about 75 miles north of New York City.

Haughtaling had a dog who suffered from kidney problems as well, so she knew what caring for Plankton would entail. She reached out to the county SPCA immediately.

“I thought it was so sad that no one was adopting him because he had a medical condition,” she said, per the SPCA. “The fact that he had been there for so long, it really hit home for me. Sick cats need homes, too.”

Ashleey and her mother Ann Houghtaling took Plankton home six days later. For the first time, the 6 1/2-year-old cat has a place to call home. He gets along well with other cats, the shelter said, and he’s got a pair of new feline friends, Nutmeg and Boots, in his new home as well.

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Ann and Ashlee Houghtaling comfort Plankton, the newest member of their family, before bringing him home from a shelter where he’d been staying for 6 1/2 years. Credit: Ulster County SPCA
Plankton the Cat
Plankton suffers from kidney problems and must have fluid injections three times a week. Credit: SPCA

 

Up For Adoption: A Buddy From Hell

Meet Buddy: Not for people who enjoy peace, caretakers with autoimmune diseases, or anyone who dislikes being smacked in the face.

What this 10-pound grey tabby lacks in size, he makes  up for in unmitigated douchebaggery.

LIKES: Turkey, mind-controlling you with toxoplasma gondii, never shutting up, destroying expensive personal belongings (particularly musical instruments), dipping his tail in your beverage just to piss you off. He occasionally enjoys rending human flesh with his claws as well.

DISLIKES: People who don’t give him treats. People who don’t treat him like the center of the universe. Vacuums, tardy service, acts of kindness, substandard service, mirrors, birds, dogs.

Come and meet Buddy, who is free to the first person who’ll claim him! In fact, we’ll play you, and he comes with a litter box, food/water bowls, toys, a harness, treats, scratching posts and heavy duty gloves.

Okay, so clearly I’m not giving Buddy away or taking applications for him. Anyone who wants Buddy will have to pry him from my cold, dead hands. He’s my Buddy.

But this adoption ad from an animal shelter in North Carolina got me thinking about how cats are described to prospective adopters:

Adoption ads for house cats are perfunctory affairs peppered with the same handful of descriptors: Every cat is a sweet, loving cuddle bug looking for a “furrever” home.

If you knew nothing about cats and based your opinion on adoption ads only, you’d think they’re basically cuddly pillows with no variation in personality or disposition.

The person who crafted Perdita’s adoption ad managed to cut through the noise with a funny, brutally honest description of the cat and her many quirks.

World’s worst cat? Even the veterinarian thinks she’s a major jerk? I have to know more.

The ad worked. Not only did it go viral, amassing thousands of shares, upvotes and comments on social media, it’s been talked about on TV and written about in major publications.

Most importantly for little Perdita, the clever ad also prompted more than 50 enthusiastic applicants, and the shelter says it’s “carefully considering” the would-be servants, no doubt trying to find the perfect match for the “World’s Worst Cat.”

At a time when thousands of charitable organizations are competing for donations and deserving pets languish in shelters, Perdita’s story proves rescues can cut through the noise and find homes for even the grumpiest of cats.

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“Buddy doesn’t do hugs, okay? Buddy speaks in the third person, Buddy meows insistently for dinner, but Buddy does not do hugs. Deal with it, human.”

 

This Cat’s In For A Rude Awakening

Meet Bazooka.

The orange butterball weighs in at 35 pounds and was surrendered to the SPCA in North Carolina’s Wake County this week after his former owner died.

Although the shelter says some people were initially outraged that a person would let the ginger tabby grow to such elephantine proportions, it turns out there’s more to the story: Bazooka’s owner was inflicted with dementia and, never sure if he’d fed the amiable cat, he just kept feeding and feeding — and feeding — Bazooka, who has apparently never met a cup of kibble or a can of tuna he won’t happily scarf down.

We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some insistent meowing prompting his late human to keep refilling those bowls.

“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” the SPCA’s Darci VanderSlik told North Carolina’s News-Observer. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka with his foster mom. Credit: Wake County NC SPCA

It turns out Bazooka is a loving and chill dude as well.

“He wants to be around people,” said Michelle Barry, the big guy’s foster mom. “He’s happiest lying right next to you. And he’s more active than I expected him to be.”

He’s in for quite an adjustment period, going from a life of on-demand meals to a strictly-regulated diet designed to get him down to a healthy weight. As any cat servant knows, there’ll be lots of agitated meowing in his future.

The ‘Zookster has already been adopted and will soon move into his forever home after the shelter provides some basic veterinary care and draws up a weight loss plan for him. Working with his new human, staff at the SPCA want to get Bazooka down to 20 pounds or so, which they feel is appropriate for his large frame.

They say they’re just glad to help.

“We don’t know a lot of the back stories of the animals we get, but we try not to judge people or make people feel bad about the circumstances that led to their surrender,” VanderSlik said. “We’re really lucky to have the resources to take him in and help him get a home he deserves.”

Bazooka the Cat
Bazooka’s a handsome kitty with a lion-like mane. In this photo, he’s thinking about pastrami sandwiches. Credit: Wake County NC SPACA