ADOPTING A 'SHELTER SHY' KITTY

'Shelter shy' kitties are almost always overlooked by potential adopters because the kitties aren't immediately friendly and able to be held and petted.  It's a sad situation, because with patience and lots of love, these kitties can become devoted, affectionate family companions.  Below is Audrey's account of working with Prudence and the rewards of adopting a 'shelter shy' cat.

After having our cat for about 3 months, we began searching for a companion for him. We spotted Prudence (then Saria) on the Pet Finders website. After showing her to my boyfriend, he had to have her. After getting in contact with Animal Friends of Barbour County, I was told many times that Prudence was very timid and shy and that it would take some work to build a relationship with her. My boyfriend and I discussed this and decided we wanted her no matter how shy she was and continued on with the adoption. After we picked her up, we brought her home and put her into a small room with a litter box and food. When I got up the next morning, she was still in the crate we had left in the room, the litter box and food remain untouched. I sat on the floor and talked to her and tried to pet her, which only resulted in her hissing at me. I did this multiple times throughout the day, with no progression in her behavior. That night, she still had not touched her litter box or food and I had even provided her with canned food. I was getting worried. I thought she hated it at our house so much that she refused to even eat. I went to bed that night worried that I would have to return her to the shelter because she was so unhappy. I also wondered if it was worth it. I wanted to provide her with a loving home, but would she ever be comfortable here? When I got up the next morning, I was overjoyed to see that she had eaten and used her box! I was still not able to touch her, but at least she wasn't starving herself. After a few days, we opened up her environment a little more, still isolated from the whole house and our other cat. She found a spot behind the desk and stayedthere, day after day, never coming out when we were around. Again, I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor just talking to her. She would attempt to come to my open hand, she would sniff me, then back away. Everyday our relationship progressed a little more. I can remember the first time I was actually able to pet her. It was a huge step for us! Then came the time to make our first trip to the vet. When we got home, she stayed hidden. We had regressed to our previous relationship with a lack of trust. I was heartbroken and felt defeated. Then slowly, over the course of a week, she began coming out again. We had to start all over with me not being able to touch her. Since then, her personality and our relationship has blossomed! She spends most of her time laying around the house. She gets so excited when it's time for canned food. She loves to play with hair ties and seeing her pounce and jump around and be so happy brings me so much joy! She is still timid and I think she will be for the rest of her life. I have yet to pick her up and she doesn't cuddle with me. But everyday she gets a little better. When I first adopted her, I never thought it would be this hard. I thought she would come here, see how much love we were offering her, and instantly love us back. It didn't work out like that and it was hard work to get where we are now, but it has been so rewarding. It brings me so much happiness to see how happy she is now. I can't wait to see what the future brings for our growing relationship. 
UPDATE ON PRUDENCE -- 12/28/2015

Just wanted to send you some pictures! Prudence and her brother Diego are getting along well! They are even giving each other baths. I think she gets more beautiful every day!
UPDATE ON PRUDENCE -- 03/20/2016

Today, after being a part of our family for almost 4 months, Prudence finally let my boyfriend pet her. He's snuck in a few pets over the months, but she's always run away. This makes my heart so happy!

She is a completely different cat than when you last saw her. She runs and is completely wild. She absolutely loves to play, she has a favorite toy on a string we play with daily. She isn't shy about wanting me to pet her, she loves to curl up with me when I sleep, and will make sure she wakes me up when she needs love. She loves to steal her brother's food and toys. Her coat has gotten so soft, I like to think that's because she's in a forever home, she can relax, finally feel love and be loved.

Here are a few recent pictures of her. We love her so much and are so thankful we were able to give her a home!

Audrey