Toby’s story was originally shared in the Clear the Shelters Adoption Story Challenge on ShelterChallenge.com. Create your own free Shelter Challenge account and vote for your favorite shelter or rescue group to win cash and prizes. Every time you vote we’ll give an extra donation to shelters!
Toby was a five-month-old kitten who was very afraid of humans and noises when he came to Oconee Humane Society Seneca SC. He was placed in a loving rehabilitative foster home. His foster parents placed him with another litter of five foster kittens that they were also caring for to try to help Toby socialize.
At first, he would just hide in the cubby of the cat tower. If approached very, very slowly in his cubby, it was possible to pet him and gently pick him up. He would “resign to being held” for only a few minutes, purr a little, and then squirm to be put down and run off. More often than not, he would flee from his cubby and keep running around the room.
The five other female foster kittens (Amber, Sandy, Roxie, Opal and Evie) took Toby under their wing and started playing and sleeping with him. His foster parents would get on the floor and he would watch them play with the other kittens from a distance. Toby was never forced into any situation. He started staying out in the open more, rather than fleeing to the cat tower cubby. Once the other kittens were allowed into the bigger room to play, Toby would scamper after them. Toby would return to the kitten room on quiet command (he knew his name) after playing in the big playroom. He loved playing with those girls! Once it came time to put the girls and Toby up for adoption, the foster parents had a dilemma.
Although Toby was making strides in getting used to humans, he would have a much better life if he could be adopted with one of the foster kittens with whom he played. So, Toby was put up as a BOGO with any one of the foster kittens at PetSmart.
After Amber, Evie and Sandy were adopted, the foster parents were starting to lose hope that Toby could find his fur-ever home. Then one day, a mom and son contacted the foster mom about meeting Opal at PetSmart. Her little boy wanted a solid gray kitten. As she was showing Opal to the mom and her seven year-old son, she told them about Toby. They both saw how much of a companion Opal was to Toby and how he blossomed in front of their eyes when they played together. The foster mom said Toby would come around to trusting humans at some point, but it might take a long time and lots of patience.
The situation pulled at their heartstrings and both Toby and Opal were adopted together. The foster mom and adopter kept in touch over the next couple of weeks. They gave Toby his space, approached him slowly and Toby began letting the little boy pet him. Toby watched Opal interact with the mother and son. The boy would pet him for a minute and then his mom would say “ok, now back away slowly to give him space again, so it ends on a good note.” And the boy did.
Toby began opening up steadily and at his own pace. Within three weeks, Toby was lying on beds and couches, not hiding at all. Toby is now safe, happy, and content with his cat companion Opal and his new human buddy!
Story submitted by Christine Piper.
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