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Happy Tail: Batman

It’s not often that an adopted cat keeps its rescue name, but in Batman’s case, it was spot on. An all-black cat with large ears, Batman was the feistiest of a litter of three kittens fostered by long-time Annex Cat Rescue volunteer Lori, in 2020. “He liked to hang upside down like a bat, so I named him Batman,” she says.

Lori has been volunteering with ACR for about five years, usually fostering kittens. “Most are rescued from outside. It’s better to rescue them young as they can adapt to life indoors more easily,” she explains.

Batman lived with Lori from about four weeks to eight months old. This is a crucial period for kitten socialization, and fosters like Lori are instrumental in helping rescues get comfortable around people and prepare for a new life indoors. “Knowing that they’re coming from the streets, not having a home at all, and being able to take them in and offer somewhere safe to grow – it’s so rewarding,” she says.

Seeing behavioural changes in rescue kittens is particularly rewarding for Lori, and Batman is a great example. Unlike the moody, caped crusader he is named for, or the hissy kitten he once was, Batman is now a cuddly cat who found his forever home in late 2020 with adopter Jo-Anne. “I give Lori nothing but credit,” says Jo-Anne. “She takes feral, four-week-old kittens and turns them into big love bugs.”

Looking for a companion cat, Jo-Anne had connected with ACR and Lori through a mutual friend and met the foster kittens over Zoom. “The kitties were dancing all over the place,” she laughs. When she asked which one would be adopted last, Jo-Anne learned it would likely be Batman due to the stigma associated with black cats. So, she said “Well, I guess that’s the cat I’m going to take!”

The first couple of weeks were an eye-opening experience for Jo-Anne. “Even though it wasn’t my first rodeo with rescues, I’d never rescued a cat this young before. I had no idea the mischief that eight-month-old kitties can get into!” Of course, a bit of time and patience can work wonders. “The advice I’d give to potential adopters is that everybody needs to take a breath and have patience,” Jo-Anne adds.

It has been about a year and a half since she took Batman home and they have become inseparable. “He’s been an absolute joy. Every day is a joy,” she says. “I don’t know why black cats get a bad rap because out of all the rescues I’ve had, Batman is by far the sweetest.”

For Lori, while it can be difficult to say goodbye, happy tales like this one are the goal of fostering. “Go at the cat’s pace and enjoy your time with them. It’s difficult letting them go after investing so much time, but they’ve found a forever home and that is the goal.”

If you weren’t convinced that Batman was the perfect name for this feline: “No one’s going to believe this, but it’s the truth,” says Jo-Anne. “My neighbour rescued a lovely Maine Coon from the Toronto Humane Society. The cat’s name is Gotham. And would you believe it, they’re BFFs.”

-Jessica Pellerin