Joyce McKay, president, introduced visitors to some of the “formerly feral” kitties who are now ready for adoption.
Safe Haven now has a “Scaredy Cat School” for kitties who are feral and need special care to prepare them for adoption. This training takes place at our IGA Thrift Store, under the supervision of their steadfast and most determined teacher, Joyce McKay. This person being myself, I can attest to the joys and rewards of being their teacher!
The ferals arrive from the woods and fields in a rather catatonic, horrified state. They do not blink. They stare. They do not purr, they hiss. They swipe their claws to warn you they’ll defend themselves if attacked. They’re much too fearful to play.
Some humans are scaredy cats themselves, and think these kitties will never let themselves be petted. But never say never! Every kitty deserves a chance and miracles happen at Scaredy Cat School all the time! We’ve never had a dropout!
All it takes is lots and lots of love. And patience. And lots of cat treats! Each kitty gets a progress chart and levels of socializing are worked on and checked off. They’re never pushed or challenged. Gentle handling, great respect, quiet training sessions repeated at least six times day and night, and exposure from a distance to everyday life eventually teaches them that people don’t have to be feared. They learn that people are their food source, their comfort and their friends.
Their progress is our joy. Their first blink, their first play session, their first purr, are momentous and give hope for their futures. Our goal is to help them become socialized enough that they can be adopted into someone’s home — a special person’s. We only adopt ferals to cat-savvy folks who “get” ferals and shy kitties, and understand they need to help them continue moving forward.
Those who adopt graduates from our Scaredy Cat School enter an elite club, which will gather for an annual celebration to share their stories about our graduates and will be linked together to share journey stories and help promote more feral kitty adoptions.
Our current class at Scaredy Cat School is ready for graduation and adoption. The “Feral Five” have worked hard at their classes. They now purr, respond to being patted, and play. They’re relaxed, confident and happy.
Chilly Willy is already spoken for. He’s the most feral of all, and made a big impression on a local teacher who wants to help him complete his journey. We’re now accepting applications for Hootie, Itty Bitty, Boo Boo, Charlie and Sweet Caroline. They’re bonded and need to be adopted in pairs so they continue to have the comfort and familiarity they need.
Come and meet them, learn more about ferals and how you can adopt a Scaredy Cat Graduate! FMI: 229-8314.