Through no fault of their own, the two tortie sisters Holly and Molly find themselves once again back at the rescue then back at their original foster home, and looking for another forever home.
I’d written about Holly and Molly last fall. A neighbor, friend and fellow cat rescuer called for assistance in capturing one of her foster cats inside her house. She briefly explained the story: they were about two years old and had been adopted by the neighbor from a litter of kittens a family member was giving away. They had likely never seen a vet or another person other than their adopter. Sadly, about two months prior to the night they had escaped their room, the woman who had adopted them committed suicide. My friend had trapped the cats and taken them to her home, keeping them until they could wear off some of the trauma and be socialized enough to be adopted. You can read this original rescue story in “Two Frightened Torties”.
Animals can carry trauma just as we do and are also thought to suffer the same effects of PTSD as humans, reliving a trauma especially when circumstances arise to trigger memories. We captured the elusive Holly, and soon after the two were spayed, something that changed the cats’ outlook significantly—still timid with strangers they were much calmer day to day and no little spats between the sisters.
The plan had been to move from their foster home to the cat room at Animal Advocates when there was space and the girls were ready, and they did move in December last year. They adjusted surprisingly well and were both adopted earlier this year. One thing that’s often true of formerly unsocialized and traumatized cats is that they don’t always take to change very well, and often revert back to an unsocialized state of mind. For two cats who only a short time ago had been frightened and hostile they certainly turned around and became quite happy house cats. The person who adopted them was very fond of them and reported they were sweet and slept with her. A real happy ending!
Except that the adopter decided on impulse to purchase herself a puppy for her birthday a few months later. It sounds as if she simply tried to put the puppy with the cats and have one big happy family, but that’s not the way it works with most animals who need to carefully get to know each other. This was a trauma to Holly and Molly and once again they began to act unsocialized as they not only mercilessly fought with the puppy, but they also began to fight with each other.
We know there are proper ways to introduce new pets, and there are ways to go back to the beginning and reintroduce, and there is training and advice, but it was decided someone had to go. The pet store had a “no refund” policy on pets they’d sold, so she could take the puppy back but she would not get her money back.
However, Animal Advocates, like many shelters and rescues, has a lifetime commitment to all the animals they have cared for, and assures a return policy on all its adoptions as a safeguard against animal abandonment if their first home doesn’t work out.
Another change for the girls, moving back to the free-roaming cat room at the rescue. Knowing the rescue was overflowing with cats, their original foster, Peg, offered to take them back to her home. They withdrew and acted unsocialized again for a few days, then warmed up again and are “back to their sweet, friendly, playful selves for the most part”, aside from a little swiping at each other. She requested advice on the flower essences we used to help them over the changes and let me know what had happened with their adoption, and that they were looking for homes again.
She also noted that they had filled out a little since they’d been adopted, and they look wonderful! They were tiny girls before though they were about two years old, but they were not spayed and were rather stressed. now look like healthy, muscled adults.
Yes, there is a lot that was done wrong in this story that left Holly and Molly looking for another home. I find it hard to believe that people think you can just put animals together and they will get along because you want them to, and they are punished when they act as they instinctively will. Or that the store that sold the woman the puppy didn’t give advice about introducing a puppy to cats, or that they care so little about the welfare of their animals that they won’t even assure a return if a home really doesn’t work out. Or that there are stores that sell puppies like a pair of shoes and people buy them. I know it all exists and happens every day, and I’ve taken in plenty of cats who’ve always seemed to lose out for who stays and who goes when a conflict of pets arises.
But on the bright side, at least Holly and Molly had the chance to be adopted and live in a home with people who were strangers to them for a while, and they did remarkably well. That means they truly have socialized and can most likely move on to another home with relative ease.
So wouldn’t you like two tortie girls to brighten your home? These two surely deserve it! The two would be adopted through Animal Advocates in Pittsburgh PA.
You can read their original rescue story from last fall in “Two Frightened Torties”.
Read more stories in my weekly Rescue Stories series
and read about my Rescue Stories series.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!