Happy Tail: Gus

Patience and giving 10-year-old Gus space “to feel safe so he can enjoy his days” has been a slow process says Paul, Gus’ adoptive dad. “One must respect that any fast movement will scare him.” He knows Gus will never be a lap cat, but he will take treats from Paul’s hand and trusts he is safe. Over the last year Gus has evolved into a very talkative feline who informs Paul when he uses his litter box and chirps for treats with a short growl. “It makes me laugh and he is so serious,” Paul says.

Gus was put up for adoption after the volunteer caretaker of his cat colony rescued and took him in for treatment when he fell ill. Normally, a cat would be treated and returned to the colony but this option was not possible as Gus needed daily medication to keep him in optimal health. Adoption was Gus’ only chance of getting the full-time care he needed. Today, he resides with his new brother and two sisters, all rescues. “It’s a pretty quiet household,” Paul says.

Gus enjoys his window seat

“I’m so glad Gus has found such a wonderful home with Paul!” says Jennifer, Gus’ onetime foster, who became accustomed to Gus’ timid (sometimes crusty) temperament. Fleur, Gus’ foster mate, helped him transition into his new home. As Fleur warmed up to Jennifer, Gus followed suit until Gus was following Jennifer around the house quietly and when left on his own chirped like a bird.

But her heart melted when she caught Gus playing with a toy. “Gus had the persona of a cat who didn’t know how to trust, but deep down he loved doing all of the things that regular house cats get to experience,” Jennifer says.

And when Gus claimed his spot on the couch after Fleur found her forever home, Jennifer knew Gus was ready to be adopted too. “It’s those small moments that make fostering a feral cat so rewarding,” she adds. By the time Gus was adopted by Paul he had gone from a hissing kitty to a sunbathing feline on his favourite perch. “I truly felt like he picked us by the end of his stay,” says Jennifer, who still thinks about and misses Gus all the time.

Gus in his foster home

Paul, Gus’ forever home guardian, has been following ACR’s work in Toronto after he adopted a “20-year-old little one named Bear.” His decision to adopt “little ones young and old” make him feel like he is doing what he can to give abandoned cats a deserving home.

Paul understands it takes a big commitment to rescue cats and that you need to be “absolutely sure it’s what you want to do.” But, he insists the rewards are immeasurable. “And don’t forget the seniors need love and homes just like the cute kittens,” he says. Paul says his routine hasn’t changed with the addition of Gus… except maybe his heart has opened wider to love a little more.

–Gillian Semple

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