I’d like to share with you the story of a cat named Shiraz. We got a call from a gentleman who had found a stray cat and her kittens, and had generously taken them into his home to raise them; however, he could not keep them, and so we arranged for him to bring them to ACS to be adopted out.
One look at this little cat family and I thought, “Oh yeah, this will be an easy bunch!” (It’s always nice when cats and kittens come in that are friendly and healthy, and pretty to boot, because it means we’ll be more likely to find them a new home right away!) All four kittens were beautiful and sweet, and mom was drop-dead gorgeous! Things looked even brighter when we discovered that the mama cat was only about a year old—really not much more than a kitten herself, which increases her chances of finding a family. We named her Shiraz, and named her kittens Pinot, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet.
Within two weeks, all four kittens were adopted out to amazing families who loved and adored their new family members. We received pictures, calls, and Facebook messages about how wonderful these kittens were, and how happy the families are to have taken them home, and it warmed our hearts and made us smile to see them all so happy.
Shiraz, meanwhile, stayed with us here at the shelter and gladly basked in the pampering attention of the staff and volunteers who brushed her luxurious long hair, played with her, and gave her the thing she wanted most in the world—a lap to sit in! We showed her off to potential adopters and posted pictures of her on Petfinder and Facebook. And for no reason that we could see, she waited. And waited. And waited.
After a month went by with no interest and no applications for her, we thought maybe she just wasn’t being seen by the right people, and sent her up to PetSmart in Horseheads to be featured for adoption; and she waited some more. After a few weeks at PetSmart, she came back to ACS, where she waited patiently for another month before we sent her to our Wellsboro location, hoping that after all this time, just maybe someone would see her for the special girl she is. She gained new fans in the Wellsboro caregiving staff, who adored her—and yet she waited, for two more months.
Finally, at the end of April, Shiraz’s family found her. They came to adopt a cat and fell in love with Shiraz—because really, who wouldn’t? There’s a reason we all love her so much! They saw the spark that made this cat special, and after five months with ACS, Shiraz went home at last.
Now why do I tell that story? To share with everyone the crazy journey of what we do? Well yes, that’s always wonderful, but I tell Shiraz’s story to illustrate a similar one that happens every year here at ACS and at other shelters around the world. Shiraz’s story is not unique or particularly unusual; every year at this time, the calls come flooding in about mama cats and their kittens, and over the course of the year, we will take in hundreds of kittens—and hundreds of mamas, too. Kittens are amazing, adorable, magical and fun, and understandably, many adopters who come through our doors every year are looking for kittens. This is a wonderful thing, that so many people want to provide a safe and loving home for these babies! However, I think what many people forget is that those kittens come from somewhere, and often the mamas that carried, delivered, nursed and cared for those babies are also in need of homes. She’s given so much to her kittens, and now that they are grown up and moving on with their life, Mom deserves to start a new chapter in hers.
So with that in mind, I’d like to issue a friendly challenge to all our kitten adopters this year—can you be an advocate for your new baby’s mom? Tell your friends about her, share her picture on social media, suggest to people that fawn over your new kitten that his mom is still here and needs a home. You may think that the actions of one person won’t be enough or that you don’t know anyone who is looking for a cat, but I think you’d be surprised by the reach of your network, especially on social media—your share could lead to another share, which could lead to someone in their network falling in love, and all in all, and a happy ending for Mom.
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