Operation Scaredy Cat
As Dakin staff members, we come to work every day to provide loving care for animals while connecting people with resources. Not all animals understand that our intentions are pure. After all, we’re strangers in a strange and confusing place.
The cats who pull at our heartstrings the most are the quiet ones. The cats who do their best to hunker down in a dark corner of the room, silently wishing to be invisible. Change is hard for all cats, but for some, it’s so overwhelming that they just can’t function.
Shutting down due to fear often invites a variety of health concerns for shelter cats. Many stop eating and experience rapid weight loss, which can cause organ damage. The stress and anxiety from a big change can also inhibit the function of a cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses like upper respiratory infections. A cat with a head cold is even less likely to eat at a level that maintains their body weight.
It’s a sad sight when a cat is hiding, fearful, and stressed. We want to do everything we can to reassure them. Now, imagine there are 25 of those cats and more coming in the door.
How can we help them?
In addition to medication to help increase a cat’s appetite, the best thing we can do for a scared cat is remove them from the scary environment.
Moving a fearful cat from the shelter to a foster home isn’t always a quick fix and it may still take lots of time and patience until the cat feels comfortable enough to emerge from hiding.
Mary Jane fostered Juno, a very fearful cat who was completely shut down in the shelter environment. Watch her video to get a firsthand look at what it’s like to foster a scared cat:
It took a week of diligent work before Juno felt safe enough to come out and seek attention from Mary Jane. Not only was Mary Jane keeping Juno safe from illness and added stress from the shelter, but she was also collecting important information about Juno for prospective adopters.
That prospective adopter was April, who ultimately became Juno’s new person. April wrote to Mary Jane a month after adopting Juno with an update. She said, “She has absolutely flourished here and is doing great. She's taken over the entire house and is getting along well with our other cat. I know how much work you put into her and ensuring a smooth transition and you did wonderfully. We are forever grateful to you and all of Dakin's staff! Thanks for your kindness toward animals - especially the scaredy cats!”
Sweet Juno (now known as Sapphire) is one of many scared cats who benefit so much from the calm sanctuary of a foster home until their adoption day comes along.
If you want to help cats and save lives just like Mary Jane helped Juno, please consider becoming a foster caregiver with Dakin.
If you’re ready to adopt an animal, including those waiting in foster homes, visit our website today.