The Taming of the Lu
While the people in the animal Shelters work to make sure you adopt the right pet for you and your lifestyle, you need to trust your instincts to know if the pet will be a good fit in your home and lifestyle. Remember this is a commitment of many years. The pet has already been abandoned at least once and it is not fair to them to adopt them only to return them. Most animal shelters will let you put a hold on the pet. while you go home and think it over, do not make a snap decision.
When it comes to the adoption of pets the majority of people choose babies over adults. It is hard to pass up the adorable face of a kitten or puppy, but don’t overlook the calm and comfort that a mature pet can bring to your life.
It seems that a lot of people feel that adult cats that are up for adoption in shelters and rescues are damaged in some way or have behavioral issues. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. All of the adult cats that I have rescued or adopted have made wonderful pets. Most adult cats that are in shelters are there to no fault of their own it is mostly because of their human family due to many reasons, they can no longer afford the financial requirements keep them, got divorced, had a death in the family or other unexpected change in their family situation.
My cat Lu was probably a result of one of these situations and rather that being taken to a shelter he became a casualty of the disposable pet syndrome. Below is his story.
Lu was dumped off near where I work, when I first spotted him he looked to be about 3 or 4 months old. I started putting food out for him but he was afraid of people and would not come near it until I walked away even though he was starving. After a few weeks of daily feeding he eventually allowed me to sit with him while he ate, but he would not allow me to touch him.
He disappeared for a few days and I could not find him. When he finally did reappear he would not use his hind leg and it looked to be broken probably from being kicked by someone. After about 3 weeks of trying to earn his trust again. I eventually had to live trap him to catch him because I was taking off work for two weeks and would not be there to feed him. I brought him home and set him up in the spare bedroom so he could be by himself and get used to his new home. I would go in and sit on the floor and talk to him to get him used to my voice and scent. To get him used to hands I hand fed him (or tried to) pieces of chicken. At first he would hiss and slap at my hand but eventually he came around and would take it from my hand but go back under the bed to eat it. At night I could hear him playing with the toys and being a typical kitten. After a week or so I introduced to my other cat Schmoo who I had found on the street starving about 12 years ago.
Lu was quite happy to see another one of his kind. Schmoo was more curious of who I had been hiding behind the door. Lu would still hid under the bed and would only come out if Schmoo was in the room but if I moved the slightest bit, back under the bed he would go. After about a week I started leaving the bedroom door opened so that he could venture out into the rest of the house and explore. That bedroom was always his safe room though, anytime something startled him he would head for that room. When he first started coming out if we even looked in his direction he would run back in. Eventually through talking to him he became less afraid but you still could not approach him without sending him in a panic to get away.While sitting on the floor I would brush and pet the other cats so he could see and learn I would not harm him. I would go about my daily routines like he was not there only talking to him as I passed by but never trying to touch him, letting him come around on his own terms.
After about five weeks of Lu arriving at the house, I got up one morning to feed the cats and I am standing at the kitchen counter opening a can of food and I feel one of them rub against my leg I look down and it was Lu, I spoke to him and he ran out of the kitchen. each morning we would go through the same thing. I started to squat down to be closer to his level and talk to him. eventually he started coming over to me and rub against my legs but if I tried to pet him he would swat at me and run away.
Lu was now getting up in age where I needed to get him fixed. I made an appointment at the Humane Society to have it done. I had scheduled it two weeks out in hope of having him tame enough for me to catch and put him in a crate. Well the two weeks had come and gone and I had no luck catching him even though he had become more tame. After a couple of more week I was able to trick him into getting into the crate. He has one very unhappy cat. I got to the Humane Society and told them I had an appointment about three weeks ago and why I did not make it. I told them I would sit and wait in case there was a cancellation. I waited for about thirty minutes and every appointment showed. One of the assistants came out of the back and told me that since I had done the difficult part of catching a wild stray that they would squeeze him in. I can't tell you how relieved I was, I did not want to have to try to catch him all over again. Well the deed got done and Lu hissed, spit and slapped at me the whole ride home ever time I moved. Once we got home I let him out of the crate and to the bedroom he flew. He only stayed mad for a day or so them he returned to were we had left off.
Little by little he became more and more trusting and allowed me to pet him or should I say touch him for a second or two. He enjoyed playing and being a kitten but he played rough and Schmoo being older did not want to deal with that, his playing days had come and gone. Schmoo just wanted to relax and hang out. One day I was at the pet store picking up cat food and litter, Pawsabilities was there with some rescues. I saw a tiny little grey ball curled up in the corner by itself. Well long story short I adopted him that day and Lu now had someone to play with, although Lu did have to learn to be gentle and understand that carrying his new brother around by his hind leg was not a good thing. Lu did learn and they became the best of friends.
With the introduction of Munch (short for Munchkin) Lu seemed to be more calm and happier now that he had someone to play with him. He was still stand offish with humans but he no longer ran and hid when I stood up or moved quickly. Little by little he learned to trust on his own terms and at his pace. About 8 months after he came to live with us, I was sitting in a recliner watching TV and he just walked over and jumped into my lap. He curled up and snuggled in and went to sleep. He had no problem with me petting him while he lay there. It was as if it had always been that way. That was two years ago and today he is one of the most affectionate cats that I have had, He meets me at the door when I come home from work and pretty much stays with me until I leave for work the next morning. he has become a happy well adjusted part of the family and you could never tell that he began his life on the street. The only reminder of that life is his left hind leg turns out when he runs, other than that he has grown into quite the handsome little guy.