Happy Tails: Hazel

In 2012, a feral litter of kittens were born in a backyard belonging to an owner of an animal hospital. When Annex Cat Rescue was notified, volunteer Rohanna trapped kittens Hazel and Cashew, naming them after nuts because of their wild personalities.

Foster mom Navjit Gill slowly introduced Hazel and her brother Cashew into her home with four other ACR foster cats, allowing them to be socialized. Hazel always preferred her brother’s company whether during nap or grooming time.

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“She was always more reserved compared to Cashew,” Gill says. “She would always run and hide and took longer to bring around. She was actually the last kitten to go to a home, so we spent months alone together.”

When Hazel met her soon-to-be adoptive family, she was a little hesitant. “When I first met her she hid under the bed almost the entire visit,” remembers Mark Stanleigh. “Navjit had to coax her out for me to meet her. But I could tell she was an easy-going cat and that once we adopted her that she would warm up to us.”

Stanleigh and his partner Colette loved the pattern on Hazel’s face so much that it inspired her new name. “It looked like the shape of a skull—that’s why we named her Castle Greyskull.”

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Castle warmed up to her new owners very quickly. “Sometimes she plays fetch with us using an old pair of winter gloves. She’s very affectionate and active,” Stanleigh says. “She’s super gentle, she never hisses or bites unless she’s playing. When it’s just us, she’s very loving and has become very hungry for attention and petting. She sits with us in our laps or behind us on the back of the couch while we watch movies and relax.”

Castle still has a fear of strangers, but Stanleigh notices that it gets better each day. “She used to get so scared that she would hide in her litter box or her play tunnel for hours,” he says. “But she doesn’t get as scared as she used to. She just kind of does her own thing for a bit or sits off to the side on her scratching perch.”

Gill and Stanleigh have remained in contact since Castle found her forever home. “I could go on for days about her,” laughs Gill. “She’s done really well in her new home, and they really love her.”

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“She’s doing great,” agrees Stanleigh. “I think she’s really happy.”

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