Like many no-kill shelters, Katie’s Place has animals that have been with us for years, and will probably remain with us for the rest of their lives. They are the lifers – the cats who will never find a home because of behavioural issues, medical issues, or simply because they blend in a little too well into their surroundings.
They are wonderful animals that would give their right paw to find a loving home of their own, but can’t because they are what one would consider “unadoptable.”
There is handsome Adam, who came to the shelter as a young cat with his sister Salsa. They are from a group of feral kittens who were brought to us years ago. Some of the siblings found homes and some ended up at the feral cabin. Adam and Salsa remained behind.
They have spent close to eight years at the shelter because their semi-feral nature does not allow them to trust humans completely. While Adam allows himself to be petted, Salsa scurries away anytime anyone gets near her. Most people don’t want an animal that will fear them so the two siblings will most likely remain in our care for as long as they live.
Then we have our beautiful torbie Bambi. The loss of her home devastated Bambi and her sassy personality mixed with the anxiety of living in a shelter makes her a bit of a handful. She is a sweet little cat, but is easily overwhelmed and lashes out at potential adopters. We think it’s the shelter life that causes her to be unpredictable, and believe in her own home she would come around, but it is hard to convince potential adopters that this wonderful little girl might actually calm down in a home of her own. There is a chance that her outgoing personality will render her unadoptable. She has been with us for about three years.
Then there is our wonderful Armstrong. He really has no issues. He’s sweet, gets along with the other cats, loves human attention and has no behavioural or medical issues that we are aware of. But he’s a plain black cat that is easily overlooked. He blends in so well with the surroundings, and is so undemanding, that no one ever notices him and his wonderful floppy ear.
He’s content enough, but as the months go by you can’t help but notice that the sparkle in his eyes is slowly fading. There is nothing wrong with him other than the fact that he is so ordinary. But when he is surrounded by so many beautiful, outgoing, affectionate cats being ordinary is akin to being unadoptable.
Then there is Brie. She’s a beautiful girl who will never find a home because she refuses to use the litter box. She’s not even listed on our website.
For these cats and others, our shelter is their forever home. This is why it is so important to have volunteers that will come by and just hang out with these cats because this is the only family they will ever know.
Magda Szulc is a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.