Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Quite a contrast

Isn't it funny how two cats, of similar age and from similar backgrounds can have such different personalities? Take Nillie (short for Vanilla), the white cat pictured. She had lived with a single person who sadly died, and because no one in the family could take her, she came into our care. She is desperately nervous of most people and not only does she hide, but she spits as well. She is completely traumatised by most things and if given the chance will hide all day under her blanket.

She has so far bonded with one of our younger volunteers, who is just about the only person who can approach her. (Suggestions to our volunteer that she put herself up for adoption with Nillie fell on deaf ears!) But it is a start. Nillie will probably be with us for a long time, whilst we gently work through her fears and show her that there is nothing to be afraid of. Once we do rehome her, she is likely to revert and become nervous and possibly aggressive for some time, so we need to find a new owner who will be prepared to give Nillie the time to settle and develop.

Then on the other hand, we have Frisky, the ginger lad pictured. Like Nillie, his owner recently died, and no one in the family could take him. He is roughly the same age (he's three, Nillie is 2½), and yet he is completely laid back, likes to lie on his back in your arms, waving his paws and purring, and he is intensely curious about all that is going on around him. We anticipate that we will be able to rehome Frisky as soon as he has been neutered (he's booked in for tomorrow).

Some of it is down to personality of course, but a lot of cat behaviour can be traced to how they are treated as kittens and/or young cats. A cat who is handled and stroked often will become confident around people. S/he will learn to trust and will cope with changes etc - although of course there may be a little bit of uncertainty at first. A cat who isn't handled much, who is allowed to hide and doesn't become used to strokes and fussing will be more nervous and will find any change to be a complete trauma.

If you have a young cat, please handle him or her as much as possible, so that if there have to be any changes - even a holiday stay at a cattery - it will be less traumatic for all concerned.

A quick update on some of the cats featured recently. We have found homes for both Minerva and Sabrina, and the cat-flu kittens, Graham & Sylvia are much much better. Thank you to all those who enquired.