My plan, long before now, was to introduce you to Traci. You don't know her story because I have not yet written about her on this blog. In order to tell you about Traci Mae, I have to go back.
Do you remember a kitty I took in named Ivy? My friend Mere Lyn rescued her from a parking lot and because I had room in the cathouse at the time, Ivy became a Winnie's Wisher. I told her story on April 9 and you can read it *here. What happened next was that Ivy eventually went to the cathouse. I introduced her slowly (in a cage first, etc.) as I usually do. Well. Ivy did not get along with the other cats. I believe that cats should be given time to adjust and I never assume that the initial behavior I observe will be the final outcome. But as the days became weeks I started to worry. Ivy was NOT pleasant to the other cats. She was WONDERFUL with people – ALL people, but she simply would not stop terrorizing the other cats in the cathouse. They all started hiding and many would not even venture out for attention or food with Queen Ivy in the building.
So . . . I talked with my daughters about an exchange. I knew Ivy would make an excellent family member for people without other cats. My problem was that I don't get adoptions often enough to hope that she might get the perfect home SOON. Since she was fully vetted, my daughters said she would be no cost to the shelter (where they work) and had a much better chance of getting adopted from there since they have so much more traffic than I do here. However, knowing how crowded the shelter stays, I was absolutely NOT going to be the reason they had even ONE more cat to find a home for. I told them I would do an exchange. If Ivy had a good chance to be adopted through them, I would give her that chance. In return, I would take one of the LEAST adoptable cats at the shelter. Yes, I need to find homes, too. But Winnie's Wish cats get to live in a cathouse, cage-free, while they are waiting for a home. I wanted to offer to a cat who had been at the shelter a very long time the opportunity to live a more comfortable life – especially if it was unlikely that she would be “picked” for a home any time soon.
The girls were excited. They knew Ivy would get adopted reasonably quickly. With her long black fur and her great personality (with people), she would get a home. Also – there were three cats at the shelter who they feared might NEVER be “chosen.” One was very old and unlikely to get adopted because of his age. But he was also on lots of medications. He would probably not be a good choice for the cathouse. Another was a black cat who liked to play peek-a-boo but who had been passed over simply because he was black. The girls felt sorry for him because he seemed to need human interaction so badly. But they weren't entirely sure he would not be picked for adoption. They only feared that he might not get picked because of his color. They decided that if the staff started describing him as a peek-a-boo player then maybe he would have a better chance. That left one more. As the girls discussed this in my presence, I watched them simultaneously come to the decision that Traci was THE ONE. There were things about Traci that were just plain sad.
She was in an area with other cats and she NEVER interacted with them. She didn't appear to want human contact. She had ONE spot where she sat day and night. Her eyes ran constantly but there was no medical reason for it. Older Daughter wondered if it was possibly some type of allergy or even stress. Traci is not what people would call a beauty. I realize that. Maybe she is not the most attractive cat on the planet. Apparently, a potential adopter who was walking through the building pointed at Traci and said Ooh, there's an ugly one. Grrr. It was probably true that Traci was not going to be chosen for her looks. She also displayed zero personality. She had been at the shelter for a long time already. The girls asked me – Would you take Traci, Mom? With those gunky eyes and no personality, you might never get her placed. I said – Let's give her a try.
When Traci Mae (what I immediately started calling her) came to me I decided to keep her in a cage in my office for a while to see if I could get to know her. She was very much afraid of her new surroundings. She hid in the litter box for several days. Eventually she moved from the litter box to a towel on the floor of her cage. It was true. This cat barely moved. Her eyes ran constantly. She is white and gray so the running eyes were leaving stains that made her look sad. Her belly sort of hangs down and swings when she walks. For some reason, the fur on her belly and the insides of both back legs is shorter than everywhere else. It looks like she is hairless in those areas. (She's not, but the hair is just much shorter and finer there.) She has a gray spot on her chin which makes it look like she has a permanent beard – not the best look for a girl. My heart broke for her.
Now let's fast-forward to today. Her eyes still run a bit now and then, but they are clear a great deal of the time. I believe some of what kept those eyes running was stress. She has moved to the cathouse. She does still stay in one spot some of the time, but she has definitely ventured out and is blossoming into a totally different cat. She doesn't chase or bother the other cats, but she does seem to be a bit nervous around them. That is beginning to moderate some. The main difference in Traci Mae is her personality with me. OH, what a lover. I absolutely have to say that she is one of the most loving cats I've EVER had at the cathouse. She passes up food to just have my attention, flopping onto her side right in front of me. I sit on the floor with Traci Mae while the others are eating and I pet her and pet her and pet her. SHE LOVES IT! I can say without reservation that this cat will be a WONDERFUL companion to her human. She will need to go to someone who is willing to allow her an adjustment period. And her special human will need to be someone who has the time to give this girl LOTS of love and attention. She is awesome – and nobody knew it.
P.S. Ivy DID get adopted – and quite quickly.
Now please pass this along. Help me find the perfect home for Traci Mae.