Happy Tail: Gus
Like so many of ACR’s happiest tales, Gus’ story begins outside. He was part of a litter of kittens found living outside a townhouse complex in York. While Gus’ siblings adjusted to life indoors and were adopted by their initial foster after a few months, he needed more time to get accustomed to people before finding his forever home.
Heather and her husband, long-time members of the ACR community who have fostered many cats and are active transportation volunteers, took him in. “Everyone involved (with ACR) is always so wonderful and welcoming. I’ve always really enjoyed the foster program because it’s a really nice way to give back and have some extra furry love in the house,” she says.
In the three weeks they fostered Gus, he remained in one small corner of the living room, camouflaged behind plants. Instead of pressuring him, they leaned into it and made him comfortable by moving his litter box and food into this safe zone. When talking about Gus’ shy behaviour, Heather is quick to reassure. “To those who might be anxious about cats who require socialization: If a cat doesn’t grow or change quickly, don’t feel bad. Fostering cats requires patience and an open heart,” she says.
She says it is important to be honest when speaking with potential adopters. “Sometimes it can take up to a year for a cat to become socialized,” she says. But, if you are interested and able to put in the time, you can form a rewarding companionship. As Gus was curious and wanted to be around them – on his own terms of course – Heather knew he would grow if paired with someone open to a cat that needed special attention.
MaryAnn and her partner were friends of ACR who had recently lost their young rescue cat Frankie to kidney failure. Missing Frankie’s energy and looking for a new companion for their older cat Milo, they reached out to ACR to see if there were any young cats looking for homes. “Adoption is always my first (and only) choice because there are so many cats at rescues that are in need of homes,” she says. Adopting is a straightforward and simple process, and rescue cats up for adoption have typically been fixed and come with their shots and microchip.
Gus had been waiting for a home for months when MaryAnn and her partner met him, and they knew they could change his life. “We felt for him as we knew that shy black cats have a hard time getting adopted, and we knew that Milo’s sweet and caring personality could help socialize Gus,” she says.
Gus spent the first couple of days hiding, getting used to the sounds and smells of his new surroundings before being introduced to Milo. These days, he is a curious and sometimes mischievous cat who brings a lot of joy to his household. In between naps and getting out the zoomies with his siblings Milo and Rosie (also adopted from ACR), he is usually the first to jump on the bed to wake up his humans with a cuddle.
“Shy cats are very rewarding to socialize,” says MaryAnn. “They have such a special bond with you when they start to open up and feel more comfortable. Gus continues to surprise us with his changing social behaviour. He was fearful of humans when we first got him, but he’s now my cuddliest cat!”