Happy Tails #5 – Fallen in Love
Waking up to find that my car is covered under snow is no fun at all. This meant shoveling the sidewalk and brushing snow off my car. It was a pretty nasty morning…but I was excited despite the weather. I am going to see Cubs today. I was looking forward to seeing him all week.
I walked into the shelter just as some of the more experienced volunteers were doing the morning wet food feeding. I watched them distribute the appropriate kinds of food to the cats and kittens. I walked over to Cubs and realized he was too busy eating his breakfast to notice my existence. He looked up for a slight second and went back to eating. I thought he must not remember me…
I walked around the shelter and I realized my supervisor was running a little bit late. I started to feel kind of lost because I am still a trainee and always depended on her guidance on what to do. I walked into the backroom (the one I started training in/was most familiar with) and asked the more experienced volunteer if I should start cleaning. She told me, “Sure, start wherever you want.” I looked around and wasn’t sure where to start… I started to get butterflies in my stomach. What an exciting feeling…getting to work on my own, but makes me so nervous at the same time…working on my own. I guess working on my own has both its positive and negative side. I told the volunteer I might need a little extra help here and there because I’m still training. She said she’d help keep an eye on me.
I started cleaning the kitty condos (4 cages attached to each other) for kittens. I looked at the notes on all of their cages and realized one of the kittens has a runny eye. I decided I would clean her cage last to prevent spreading any bacteria or sickness she may have. I started with Panther (black female kitten) and she was in a mess! There was an old bowl in the back of her cage with dried crusty wet food in it. This should never happen because each shift is responsible for taking out their wet food bowls. They are never supposed to stay in the cage after their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I immediately distracted her with a toy in order to get the bowl in the back of her cage. I took out her towels and water/dry food rack. I looked and there is NO WATER in her bowl! I got a little worried so I went to the sink to fetch her a new bowl with fresh water in it. I restocked her dry food and cleaned the floor of her cage quickly so that I can put all the bowls back. I grabbed her new towels too because her two bath towels that she uses as a bed was completely soaked through! She must’ve spilled all her water last night. Panther was kind of feisty when I opened her cage and now I know why. She’s dehydrated, has no where dry to lie on, and must feel super uncomfortable. Once I placed the water bowl/dry food rack in her cage she immediately sat in front drinking water for at least 2-3 minutes. Poor baby. Earlier when I first opened her cage she was biting softly on my arm and now she is pushing her head on my arm. I realized she was trying to tell me something earlier with the soft biting— “HELP I’M THIRSTY” and her head rubbing on my arm was her saying “Thanks!”
My supervisor had come in by now and she just told me to continue what I was doing. I felt my tensed up heart relax a little. Finally, my first cage cleaning without supervision. I felt great! I was ready to move onto the next one. I thought it was going to be just the same routine, but it turned out differently than what I had expected. Sarah (female black kitten, Panther’s sibling) only wanted to barge out of the door. She would not let me take out any of her bowls. She was dying for affection! But I had to do my job… I wanted to play with her but just not right now. I asked the volunteer in the room with me to help me out. She offered to hold onto Sarah and to socialize with her while I cleaned. I agreed.
So this experience taught me that things are not as easy as they may look or seem. I thought that because I was able to clean one cage without a problem…it would be the same for the rest…but I was wrong. Each kitten/cat is going to have their own personality and reaction to when you decide to clean them. Especially when you are by yourself…it is a lot more to handle. I need to reassess myself. I was getting a little overconfident that I can work on my own after I cleaned one cage by myself…but I realized I need way more experience.
After cleaning the backroom, I discussed with my supervisor my experiences working on my own. I told her I still need more experience and am not fully comfortable yet. We were talking in the laundry room where Cubs was at and I looked at him. He looked like he was sleeping, but then I saw his head rise up and gave me a stern serious face. I walked up to him and his green eyes looked so powerful and firm, but they softened as I moved closer. He rolled onto his back and stuck his paw out of the cage to reach me. He wanted me to pet him. I put my hand on his paw and he rolled closer to me. He started to rub his head and body all over my hand. I never felt so welcomed by him! I was getting butterflies in my stomach again. I must be falling in love. I sure hope he feels the same way too! My supervisor said he must like me a lot because he’s being such a sweetheart. So I guess he might remember me after all! I petted him for a long time, but I knew I had to stop soon because I would probably end up falling deeper in love with him. His charming green eyes are so hypnotizing. What a cute big boy.
My experience with him confirms that it is possible for abandoned or given-up cats to become affectionate again. Cubs seems to have opened his heart back up for people. I am really proud of him and the volunteers. Each and every person’s TLC helped him open up to humans again. I can’t wait to work with other cats in the shelter to help them make progress just like Cub’s. it is all a matter a time…
Here is my cute big boy.
(On a side note: Cubs lost his neighbor Mr. Bojangles because when he went to the vet that afternoon after I left…he was in a really terrible condition with multiple internal problems and had to be put out of his misery…RIP Bo)
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