Don’t Forget the Quiet Ones
Just like our friends and family, animals have unique personalities that can affect our interactions with them. Often animals that are more reserved and quiet won’t get the same attention as those more energetic and social animals. It is easy to fall in love with the first animal that you play with at the shelter, but it is important that you think about your own personality and what level of energy you are looking for in a pet before you adopt. When my girlfriend and I adopted our cat Sebastian, he was in a room full of other cats that we could potentially adopt. With all the cats coming up to us and investigating, it was easy to forget the shy cats that were hanging out on high ledges or in corners. It wasn’t until one of the volunteers mentioned that Sebastian had been in the shelter for the longest that we decided to meet him.
Sebastian was hiding on a high ledge taking an afternoon nap when we pulled him down to say hello. He didn’t make a sound coming down and when we pet him he sat quietly not giving any indication if he liked us or not. As someone who has never owned a cat in my life I had some worries about adopting a shy cat at first. I have heard so many stories about cats being easily agitated and not having the same affectionate tendencies as dogs; I was worried a shy cat may not warm up to us as easily as a more outgoing cat might. We talked at length to the volunteer who had spent a lot of time with Sebastian; she told us about his personality and even showed us a letter written about him by a woman who had fostered him. As we talked my worries about adopting this shy cat disappeared and we decided to take him home with us.
In the first two weeks after adopting Sebastian he only knew two places in the whole apartment, under the bed and behind the couch. We were patient; we talked to him in his hiding spots and put out treats for him to find when we would leave and he would find the courage to explore. We gave him plenty of toys and a place to hang out and we waited. Each day he became bolder and louder. By his fifth week with us he would walk up to our couch or our bed and meow until we ask him to come up. Now some nights I move my foot and I feel a little fur ball at the end of the bed. With just a little bit of encouragement Sebastian has really come out of his shell and become an incredibly playful, affectionate, and talkative cat; he could not fit into our lives any better.
If you are going to adopt an animal, try to keep stories like Sebastian’s in mind. He
spent an entire year sitting in a shelter because he liked to keep to himself. All animals are different and not every animal is right for every person or family. When you are making the decision to add another member to your family, do so carefully. It is exciting to get a new pet but if you take your time and get to know a lot of different animals in the shelter you are much more likely to find the animal that will not only fit your lifestyle but also improve it.