How can I bring attention to our Buddys who have been at the shelter facility from the start?
I decided to visit a living room at the shelter and get a feel for the residents. The Buddy Foundation has several living rooms for the cats. Some remind you of the shore and summer, while others, with their electric fireplaces, cozy couches and warm blankets, remind you of a Winter Wonderland, our theme for this year's 18th Birthday Party for Buddy.
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Anyone who has ever known a cat could tell you they fit into a lot of categories. From big to small, timid and shy, and some that could jump to the sky. There's the talkers, the walkers, the sleepers, the creepers, those that kneed, those that pee'd. There's the lap cats, the bat cats, the snugglers, those that fetch, come when you call, and stand with their feet on the wall. At Buddy, you could say we have them all.
The shy side of Buddy are those kitties that deserve a home and are least likely to find one. Why? Because they are scared sometimes of their own shadow.
Are you a "Cat Whisperer?" Can you do amazing things to calm the fears of the frightened? Why don't you come and visit with the idea in mind to adopt one of the shyest. Could it be Josie or Bambi? Spencer or Tracy? Every room has a few.
Once you've decided which one you will take home, then the work begins. Visiting the shelter so the resident begins to know you are safe to be around is a must. After a number of encounters with your new friend, you will know when you are ready to take them home.
Remember first to have a small, safe room set aside for the beginning of the transition. I've used the bathroom, the kitchen and the bedroom. They will be arriving at your home in a pet carrier. This will likely become their safe house until they have fully explored your home. Have the room ready with a litter box, (the cat will naturally use it) food and water dishes (positioned away from the litter box).
You are about ready. It is best if you can sit in the room when you open the carrier door, but not necessary. It is nice to try and coax them out, but sometimes it just takes time. Eventually, your new pet will venture out of the carrier, walk around, but soon run quickly back inside to await another adventure.
Gaining trust is the goal here. If you have another pet in the house, best to let them smell each other under the door. They will paw under the door at each other to start.
It also helps to put a blanket or towel with the other's scent in each place for them to smell their differences. Other pets in the home will also help the timidity of the new one. I've heard of the resident cat hanging with the new one under the bed, as if to tell it, "It's OK, don't be afraid," and showing it the places in the house to hide.
When your timid kitty finally trusts you -- (be patient) they can become one of the most loving cats you'll ever have. Then surely they've found their forever home.
Come on over to the shelter and visit one of the living rooms. Ask for the shy boys and girls. Everyone can point them out. Our volunteers know the cats well and can give you advice about each one.
Begin by observing them. Don't even try an approach. The best is yet to come. What's your reason to take one home this season? Just because you can!
Come rub shoulders and celebrate with the best of Buddy for its 18th birthday. The party will be Thursday Feb. 28, at Moretti's, 1799 S. Busse Road, Mount Prospect, from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be a buffet, two drinks and dessert. The cost is $30 in advance or $35 at the door.
• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at thebuddyfoundation.org.