An old proverb holds that “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same might be said of rescuing, socializing and permanently homing a former street cat. Take Sam, for instance.
Three homes and three dedicated caregivers helped Sam successfully transition from skittish outdoor cat to chill and happy purr machine and BFF to Charlie. Each can bask in knowing her input made all the difference in Sam’s life-change.
Sam’s story as we know it began in early 2015. The black and white beauty was living in a very active managed colony in the city’s East End that was threatened by ongoing construction. Noting his gentleness, his colony caretakers suspected he might be tame enough for adoption. Sam was short-listed for capture by ACR volunteer and ace trapper Marianne.
“My husband Alan and I agreed to assess him and he ended up staying with us for about three or four months,” Marianne recalls. “He was a very nice cat, very gentle, and he liked other cats although he was a bit skittish. Unfortunately, my cat Micah started bullying Sam a bit. It was decided the best thing for Sam was another home.”
Enter Bonnie, who had fostered roughly a dozen cats over four years before Sam arrived in fall 2015. Sam became one of Bonnie’s all-time favourites. “He was a lovely cat – a bit standoffish but once he determined someone was OK, he was an absolute sweetie. He loved attention and being brushed. We had a routine where as soon as I came home I’d bring out the brush and he’d come trotting over.”
Because Sam got along like gangbusters with Simon – another cat Bonnie was fostering – she knew he was a good candidate for would-be adopter Tabitha who in early 2016 was seeking a companion for her Charlie, still grieving the loss of Ammy from the previous November.
“It was so funny,” Bonnie chuckles. “Tabitha sent me pictures of Sam in the first week after she took him home. First, Charlie was lying near Sam. Then he was up against Sam. By the third picture they were entwined. It didn’t take long for those two to become close friends.”
Tabitha too laughs at the memory. Having lots of experience with rescue cats, she knew an older cat was the way to go. “You don’t know what a kitten’s personality is going to be. Sam (who is about seven) was the first cat I went to see. Bonnie had mentioned he was a bit of a work in progress because he had been feral for quite a while. But he just needed some attention.
“Bonnie told me he had been bullied in his first home because he is so submissive. Yet Sam and Charlie just started licking each other. Their connection was immediate and there was no power struggle at all.”
With Sam’s one-year anniversary in his forever home nearing, there’s no looking back.
“I think having Charlie really helped Sam come out of his shell,” Tabitha says. “He shadows Charlie and how he grooms and where he sits. It’s pretty adorable.”
— Kim Hughes