As some of you may already know, I recently adopted a cat from Wanaka Cat Rescue. Since it was National Animal Shelter and Rescue Week at the time (Nov 4th - Nov 11th), I decided it would be a good idea to keep a diary of my thoughts and my new rescue cat’s progress, and share it with you lovely people! When I say "we" throughout, I'm referring to myself, Miriam, and my partner, Sam.
Finding the Right Cat
We did go and see a gorgeous black cat first, before meeting the one we would end up adopting but due to his needs and our situation, we decided it would be unfair to him and ourselves to take him home with us. Wanaka Cat Rescue are great at matching cats that suit your lifestyle if you let them know what you’re looking for. So, they put us in contact with another one of their fosters, and we arranged to meet a tabby called Tessa.
We were told that Tessa was around 11 months old, was very shy and that it took her longer than usual to get used to people. Sam and I could see this when we met her, as she sat up high in the cat tree, she wasn’t interested in us whatsoever, although she did let us pet her a little. Tessa’s foster mum told us that Tessa wasn’t food motivated either, which meant you couldn’t make her come out of her shell by bribing her with treats!
Our thoughts after meeting little Tessa was that a) she was adorable, b) she seemed like a sweet, sensitive and shy girl that would be so loving, and c) that she needed somewhere safe, quiet and stress-free, which is exactly what our little flat could provide her with.
Getting the Formal Stuff Sorted
After we were certain we wanted to take little Tessa home, we got onto the paperwork side of the adoption process (which wasn’t much!). We paid the $160 adoption fee (which covers de-sexing, micro-chipping and vaccinations) and we were handed the vet book and the information sheets from Wanaka Cat Rescue.
On the day that we were meant to pick up our new fur baby, unfortunately she wasn’t very happy about the carrier and was not going to get in. Which is understandable, since Tessa had already been to the vet for a check up that morning. And as no-one wanted to stress her out again, we all agreed to try again another day.
A day later, Tessa’s foster mum was able to get her into the carrier, and brought her over to our flat. Instantly Tessa was wary of the new surroundings, but she came out with no problems, and hid on her blanket in a little hiding spot we had made for her.
Throughout the day, we didn’t hear a peep from our new little kitty. She had moved from the hiding spot to under the bed, and we checked up on her every once in a while but we were sure not to overwhelm her or force interaction. Tessa stayed under the bed all night.
Day 1 in New Home
Tessa was hiding out all day on her first full day in our flat. Sam and I understood she would need a few days to adjust and understand what was going on.
As Tessa’s foster mum had warned us, she wasn’t food motivated, so didn’t even come out for anything to eat or drink. We weren’t worried at this point as Tessa was probably very stressed out, and not eating or drinking is normal in this situation.
Fast forward to 10pm and this little kitty really surprised us ...she decided to come out to explore. Of course, she wasn’t completely confident but with a little encouragement, I got her to play with me which led to petting and some trust being built.
Tessa was super up for anything during the night, and we could hear and see her wandering around, walking on the windowsills and checking out chairs and cupboards up until around 5am.
Day 2 in New Home
The second day was very similar to the first, our adopted kitty was hiding out in her safe spot and did not feel comfortable leaving it. She only came out to use the litter tray for a wee (still, result!).
Come the evening-time again and Tessa was full of beans. I’m not quite sure how it happened but after talking to Tess and ensuring she didn’t feel pressured, she decided to come up to me for some cuddles. My new fur baby was being very affectionate, she showed me that she trusted me by lying on her back between my legs and having her back turned to me when she was interested in something else in the room. Throughout the second night, Tessa was meowing and exploring, and came up onto our bed a few times for some attention.
This felt like we had really broken through her barrier of wariness and suspicion. However, Tess had still not been interested in food or water.
Day 3 in New Home
Tessa’s third day is pretty much the same as the first two. She doesn’t seem to be fully awake or ready to engage during the day, so she stayed hidden away.
The evening, on the other hand, was a great success. Tess made her way close to Sam and I when she was ready. It seemed like the kitty felt more comfortable around me and I was always her first choice for cuddles. Even so, Tessa was playing with us both and enjoying heaps of loving in the evening, and she was so content that she was purring away, not meowing half as much as the first couple of nights. Little Tess was so comfortable with us that she decided to sleep in the chair next our bed all night!
Sam and I were getting pretty worried about her not eating or drinking, or pooping, at this point though. We were prepared for the wait and the time it would require for our new kitty to acclimatise and feel safe and calm enough to eat but three days without food or water is a long time. We were looking for solutions, and agreed to call the vet the next day if Tessa still wasn’t showing signs of eating or drinking.
Day 4 in New Home
At last, little Tess seemed relaxed and safe in her new home and around Sam and I. So much so that we saw her drink some of her water, and noticed she had eaten some of her dry food, and had pooped in the litter tray overnight!
Not only was this great news but on this day we didn’t wake up to Tessa hiding under the bed, we woke up to her purring and rubbing herself against us for attention and morning cuddles. Throughout the day, Tess seemed very relaxed around us and wasn’t jumpy or bolting for her hiding place every time we moved. Our new feline friend didn’t see us as a threat anymore, and she decided to hang out in our room all day; lying on the bed watching us in the living room, sitting up high on a cupboard where we had put a blanket down for her, or sitting by the door looking out at the garden.
Even as I am writing this, my newly adopted furry friend has hopped onto my lap demanding to be scratched... she is not the same kitty we saw when we first met her, and we are so happy her stress is disappearing and she is making our place her home.
I'd like to give a huge thank you to Wanaka Cat Rescue, for saving these cat's lives, and finding them a forever home. The process was efficient and they are always there for anyone who needs anything regarding their felines.
Feel free to message me at Wanaka Dog Walking & Pet Sitting for any comments, questions or advice you might have regarding the cat adoption journey, I'd love to hear from you!