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  • Writer's pictureAldona Birmantas

Shy Cats Need Love, Too (Feline Friday series)

(Editor's Note: Last Friday's blog post has been pushed to this week due to the holiday last weekend. We resume normal schedule on June 8th!)

Surely, most, if not all, of us have encountered an outgoing, in-your-face, “OMG PET ME FOREVER” cat at some point in our lives. All you need to do is merely make eye contact (and, sometimes, not even that) and you’ll look down to see a small creature rubbing up on you, begging for attention and claiming you as their own. But, what about those less-than-outgoing cats, the ones that make *you* work for *their* attention?

All too often, the shy ones are overlooked in shelters. A lot of adopters seek the outgoing, friendly ones with big personalities while the introverts hide in a corner somewhere unnoticed. However, what some people don’t know is that the quiet ones have personalities, too. It just takes them a little longer to shine.

Given that I have one of these shy cats at home, Betty, I tend to have a major soft spot for the ones that require a bit more patience and understanding on my part. Betty is anything but shy with me, but it takes awhile before she’ll warm up to anyone else. Some people, she never warms up to, even after several years- just ask my mom!

Two prime examples of shy cats that I absolutely love are Marble and Heloise from Harmony House. I also have a weakness for torties, so despite Marble's disinterest in me initially, she wasn’t a hard sale for me. Marble was at the shelter for several years. It took me a few visits to get her to warm up to me, but she’d still always stay in her “shy cat corner” with a few like-minded pals. I had to go to her and I did every time I visited. She’d purr and nudge my hand if I stopped petting her and sometimes, when I wasn’t looking, she’d move a little bit closer to me and then act as if nothing had happened.

Still, though, Marble was overlooked by adopters consistently until one day, she was adopted by someone whom I assume also possesses a similar soft spot. Thankfully, her adopter gives Harmony House updates occasionally and wouldn’t you know it? After some time settling into her new home, Marble came right out of her shell. Sometimes, the shy ones just need to get out of the shelter and into an environment that they can make their own!

More recently, I met Heloise. She seems to be a bit of a loner because I never see her buddy up with any of her roommates. She prefers to just hang out by the window or on a shelf and space out. She came to my attention one day when I was petting another cat near her and decided to throw a little head scratch her way. She let me pet her, but didn’t seem overly interested, so I stopped. All of a sudden, I hear a little meow and she’s staring right at me as if to say, “Hey, if you still want to pet me, that’s okay. I don’t mind. I’m here if you need me.” So, I pet her again and then she dove right into it, purring and rolling around all over the place. This has been our meeting ritual ever since.

If it was feasible, I’d take Heloise home so she could sit on my lap or step all over the keyboard while I’m working like Betty and Marge do. Alas, she is still there (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

So, the moral of the story here is that next time you or someone you know is seeking out a new feline family member, spend some time with the quiet ones and see if any sparks fly because they need love, too!

(Editor's PS - want to meet Heloise in person? Then come on by for Harmony House's Kitty Summer Social on June 9th!)

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