Happy Tail: Marla

Ed and Roger are convinced Marla lives by the motto, “Cum cibum abiit, ego me periit” meaning “When the food is gone, I am gone.” Food — especially salmon — has played a big part in happily settling Marla into her forever home.

Marla in foster care

But Marla proved to be a challenge from the beginning as she didn’t like cat carriers. “It took nearly two weeks before we got the call that Marla was ready,” Ed laughs. She had to be acclimatized and coaxed into the carrier with food by the ACR foster, Harmony. Marla growled all the way home when Roger picked her up. But they knew they could cope with Marla’s unfriendly demeanour as she resembled their late cat Maude’s personality.

Marla- dinner time

It’s taken over a year for Marla to adjust to her new home. “We had to adapt to Marla and not the other way around,” Ed grins. For weeks Marla hid under the couch swatting them away. Until Ed and Roger cooked a salmon dinner. Marla came out of hiding and ate the fish from their hands. But once the food was gone Marla was back in hiding.

Marla in bed

Now, Marla is relaxed and sleeps with Ed. “Marla makes us work for every bit of attention we get from her!” Ed confesses. She allows them to pet her 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at night but no affection in between.

Ed and Roger feel “some extra satisfaction” that Marla has gone from a tense and aggressive cat to a more relaxed and happier one. “She still has her cranky, hissy days, but slowly a more affectionate and cuddly Marla is appearing,” Ed says. And he reminds anyone adopting, “We cannot know what upsets an older cat” but knows it “takes patience, time, band-aids” — and salmon — to appease unpredictable Marla.

–Gilliam Semple

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