Sunny little Ivan leapt into Pat’s life in the summer of 2016. She fostered Ivan and his brother Nigel during kitten season, choosing a duo at risk of being trapped and needing some socialization. Although he had a difficult feral colony start, Ivan quickly turned into the outgoing cheerful little kitty that Pat and later his adopters would know and love.
Pat says she was impressed by “Annex Cat Rescue’s proactive approach to helping cats: from colony care to ‘capture’ through to adoption”. She got involved with ACR because “it is a great pleasure and privilege to help outdoor cats and kittens transition to domestic life. Sometimes they quickly shed their fears… This was the case with Ivan”.
This turnaround was thanks to his positive human interactions with colony caretakers and the efforts of Pat and her husband Rob who gave lots of love and play time to Ivan and his brother.
Pat describes how after a couple of weeks they felt that the furry pair could cope with having the run of the house. “This gave them a chance to become familiar with all the interesting places in the home, as well as with the other fuzzy inmates: three adult cats and a dog. They quickly discovered some fun cat trees and lots of furniture to climb, and made a special friend of our big ex-feral cat Socks. ‘Uncle’ Socks was a very comforting presence for the little guys, and we are happy that they each got adopted into homes where they each got a big brother. All in all it was fun and very rewarding to socialize the kittens.”
Ivan’s sunny personality made him quite endearing to Pat. Ivan’s sweet and loving nature also caught the hearts of Christine and Tabitha, a mother and daughter who adopted him in August. Christine was a little apprehensive at the idea of a new pet, as she has had two cats that had been with the family for 15+ years – each succumbing to kidney disease.
“I was adamant that I never wanted another cat (or any other pet) ever again, because it hurt too much. But Jerry, our two-year old cat wasn’t the same after his pal Roger died and I was concerned about his lethargy. So I accessed the Annex Cat Rescue website, just to ‘have a look’ and found Ivan.”
Christine sent her daughter the kitten’s picture and although there were many cute cats featured on the site, Ivan made Christine laugh. “His little face looked as if it was put together by bits of leftover pieces, like a puzzle.”
Although it can often be intimidating to socialize new cats in another cat’s territory, Tabitha did her homework and was prepared to introduce the new furry roommates. She slept with Ivan on the first night in the space that she and her mother had set up in her basement office space. They did that for one more day before bringing Ivan and his toys up, ready to introduce to Jerry.
Jerry was glued to the other side of the door and although there was a bit of growling, nothing caused them particular concern. “The following day, we began the process of opening the door a bit so that both Jerry and Ivan could see one another. It was the next day that we decided to cross our fingers and make the introductions. Jerry and Ivan checked each other out. Tabitha and I were barely breathing! We had the meetings last for small chunks of time, extending them once it looked like harmony was prevailing. After a couple of days, I felt that our home had regained its sense of balance.”
This balance was reinforced by Ivan’s sweet, loving and playful nature. Both Christine and Pat commented on these traits. They also both shared some funny Ivan ‘tails’.
Pat described Ivan as being an amazing leaper. “When he was first let out of his sanctuary room and allowed to roam the entire house, he cautiously made his way part-way down the stairs before he discovered a cat wonderland of two large multi-level cat trees – boy, did he have fun!”
His adventurous spirit continued at his adoptive home. One day Ivan went missing, and despite Tabitha’s reassurances that cats like to hide away, Christine got a little nervous. Although she wanted to believe her daughter, after about a half hour, she could tell that Tabitha was becoming concerned as well.
They were certain that he hadn’t gotten outdoors, but the quiet house made them feel uneasy. Thankfully after some more time, Tabitha called out that she found him. “One of our previous cats, Aggie, had opened up a space in the covering that is on the underside of one of the bed’s box spring mattresses… enough space for a kitten to climb into and snuggle up for a snooze! So, whenever Ivan disappeared from then on, the one guaranteed way to get him out from that little crawlspace was to rattle the container of cat treats. And now he’s too big to fit into that space, so he’s learned to crawl under the wing back chair in the living room, but he forgets to tuck his tail into that space, so we’ve got him in our sight!”
Both Pat and Christine agreed that owning cats has many positive benefits. Christine describes her most loved parts as being the kitty snuggles or the sound of their purring (Ivan’s reminds her of an outboard motor) but mostly it’s the sense of balance and harmony in the home.
Pat had difficulty naming just one favourite aspect, identifying the role of rescuing street cats into homes and having fun with kittens.
“Meeting great people who love cats as much as I do. The heartwarming feeling of providing an excellent cat to wonderful cat-loving adopters.”
— Kirsten Joy