We All Have Baggage
The Second Save of Christmas 2017: Rosalea
We all Have Baggage
Rosalea came into foster care a very unhappy Aby girl. She was a beautiful ruddy Abyssinian, pregnant and very stressed out. How would it feel to have to leave the only home you had ever known, to get moved to two different places in a single day without understanding what was going on, and with your hormones going crazy?
We put her in a separate room that was quiet, set up a whelping bed for her, and worked on earning her trust and getting her to chill out. We also had her checked by our vet to determine how far along she was. Our vet thought it would be 2-3 weeks before the babies would come and that there would be either three or four kittens. Those first weeks in foster care were slow going, but she seemed to be warming up. Then bam, it was baby time!
Unfortunately, the progress we had made before the birth was reversed as soon as Rosalea had her two (yup, only two) little Aby boys. She made it crystal clear we could not touch them or even get close to them, though I was able to sneak a few pictures of them at a couple of days old. I had spent a lot of time in the room with her, earning her trust so I could help her if needed, but now she was having none of it.
Bottom Line: I was starting over from square one to gain her trust, and given her reticence, we were especially grateful that she was such a wonderful Mom. It was very clear that this was not her first litter. She had everything under control and did not want or need us humans poking around or interfering!
Still, our goal is to prepare every cat for a happy family life, so every day I would go into the room, sit on the floor at a respectful distance, and talk to Rosalea softly. When the kittens were about a week old, she started coming over to me and nuzzling my leg and letting me pet her. At a week and a half, with her watching me with an eagle eye, I could look at and gently pet the babies. At two weeks, I decided I would try picking them up. Rosalea sat right beside me on the floor and watched my every move. She licked them as I held them and on came her loud purr. From this point on, things improved by leaps and bounds.
We discovered Rosalea loved to play with “da Mouse.” Every morning and night I would play with her while her kittens grew and began exploring their world. It was obvious she wanted and needed her playtime too. It was wonderful to see Rosalea settle down and her kittens grow into striking little boys.
We had Rosalea spayed when the kittens were about 12 weeks old. We also had an adopter who had fallen in love with her. She went home about a week later. Yet more dramatic changes for this girl.
Rosalea had been around other adult cats and kittens with no issues in her previous life. However there were initial complications with the adoption: Rosalea’s adopters have another adult cat that was less than thrilled about having a second adult cat come into the home. And of course Rosalea was far from thrilled having her world turned upside down again: being spayed, taken from her babies, tossed into a whole new environment yet and with a strange cat to get used too! The adopters, though initially frustrated, mustered up their patience and continued to work with her. They refused to give up, they loved the silly girl and knew they could make it work. We stayed in touch and worked through the issues they were seeing.
We are thrilled to report that Rosalea has now settled in. She does things in her own way and in her own time, but she seems very content and happy in her new world. The adopters are continuing to work with her everyday to build a bond of trust and love. Their other cat, who was initially unwelcoming, has started playing with Rosalea, who is pretty blasé about the whole thing and can take it or leave it. We think, because of the history we do know, she will never be a lap cat, but she does love her humans, just on her terms.
Roselea came into rescue with some baggage. Everyone has baggage, even cats and kittens. Animals can come with some of the same kinds of baggage humans have–not feeling good enough, not fitting in, feeling fear, pain and even heartache. Situations and events mold cats much as they do humans, but if we are willing to help them unpack and make them feel safe and loved, they will become amazing companions.