Scary. Confusing. Giant. Too interested in litter box contents.
That’s what humans were to Robin when she found herself at the Connecticut Humane Society.
The 3-month-old kitten was used to cats who were small like her, who all understood each other and kept to themselves.
Robin had been living with many other cats at a home that helped out stray kitties, and came to CHS with several of them. The world of cats made sense to her. The world of humans did not.
So she crouched in corners and hissed and rejected peace offerings of treats. CHS’ staff veterinarians gave her a clean bill of health, so it wasn’t a medical condition causing her quirks. How do you help a cat like Robin? You bring in CHS’ behavior team right away.
They set her up in a quiet space and began hand-feeding her with a long, extendable spoon, encouraging her to associate something she liked (food) with something she was afraid of (humans).
Sometimes they’d pet her with a wand toy. Soon, Robin perked up when she saw other cats—she meowed and reached out to them! The team tried feeding Robin with her spoon while another kitten lounged on their laps.
There was progress…slow progress. Robin played with a mouse toy a few weeks in, and took treats out of a hand. She would still hiss, although she now played a little bit. A mentor cat stayed in her room, and while Robin still minded her own business, she’d clearly be fine with another kitty. Two months in, Robin came over to someone for pets…until she realized what she was doing and scampered away!
CHS often sees pets blossom once they’re in a home of their own. Robin was posted on the website for adoption, and along came a past adopter who had experience with shy kitties. She had resident cats who could help Robin gain confidence and was prepared to go slow and provide the quiet home this youngster needed.
Well, just a few weeks later, the good news arrived. Robin was rolling over, lounging on the couch, and snuggling her feline siblings. “Every day, Robin gets more comfortable,” her new mom says. “And happy! I love her!”