Adopt. Volunteer. Donate.

Happy Tail: Osmo and Finn

After losing a beloved cat in 2018, Annex Cat Rescue foster Dayna wasn’t ready to adopt again, but she missed having a cat around. So, she decided to foster. Her specialty was behavioral assessments of feral cats.

Dayna would take in these cats and, over time, see if they would be able to integrate into life with people, or if they would have to return to the colonies. Life in the colonies was uncertain and insecure, so Dayna and the ACR team didn’t want to return cats there unless they absolutely couldn’t get along with humans.

One day Dayna got a phone call that would change her life. She was told that a cat colony near the airport needed to be relocated. Construction had recently begun in the area, so ACR had been called in to clear out the cats. Dayna was asked to foster one of them — a little guy named Osmo.

But then, Dayna noticed a change in Osmo. And she realized something. Osmo might be too shy to play with Dayna, but he wasn’t too shy to play with the other resident of the house, Dayna’s other cat, Finn.

Dayna’s first impression of her new friend was that he was a “beautiful, gorgeous cat,” with “perfect tabby stripes.” Not that Dayna got to see much of him at first. He had no experience living in a home, and very little experience with humans.

As a result, he was incredibly shy. In the first few months of living with Dayna he spent most of his time hiding under her sink, to the point where he made a little nest for himself under there. He was so skittish that Dayna became worried he wouldn’t be able to enjoy living in a home, and that he would have to go back to the colony.

“I knew Osmo could be domesticated because he was learning from Finn and doing all the things that Finn did,” Dayna says.

Coming from a colony, Osmo was used to having other cats around. And he quickly fell in love with Finn. Osmo came to see him as a big brother, with all the cuteness and annoyance that entailed. “He always wanted to eat out of Finn’s bowl,” Dayna laughs, recalling that Finn did not appreciate the intrusion. Although Osmo was nervous around Dayna, he would walk right up to Finn and roll over, hoping to make friends. That was a turning point for Dayna.

And one of those things was bonding with Dayna. Slowly, over the course of months, Osmo and Dayna’s relationship developed. He would sit beside her on the couch, not wanting to be touched, but simply wanting to be close to her. She began to call him Mr. Slow Blink, because he would sit beside her and slowly blink his eyes at her.

It took a long time, but after a year, Osmo was much more comfortable in the home. He was no longer hiding under the sink all day. Dayna knew it was time for the next step: putting Osmo up for adoption. He was listed on the ACR website. One day, a woman came by to pick him up. And then, Osmo was gone.

Dayna was surprised by how much she missed the little guy and realized in his absence that she had grown to love him. But he had found his forever home. Or so Dayna thought, until she got a phone call a month later.

“One stipulation was that Osmo had to go to a home with another cat,” Dayna says. The adopter had another cat, and the hope was that he and Osmo would get along, the same way he’d befriended Finn. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been the case. The other cat hated Osmo, and no matter what the adopter did, she couldn’t make them get along. So, she called Dayna. “She did everything right, but it just wasn’t working,” Dayna says.

Dayna offered to take Osmo back. And when he came home, Dayna realized something: he was her cat.

“When he came back, I thought he had a look of relief on his face,” Dayna smiles. And she felt the same way. “I realized I could never let him go again.” So, she didn’t. Dayna adopted Osmo, and they and Finn have been a family ever since.

Today, Osmo is a happy, cuddly cat, who loves his cat tree, his perch, and “WWE wrestling” with Finn. He’s also a total chatterbox. “He will chirp until someone comes to say hi to him,” Dayna says. In a huge step forward from his past, he will also happily let Dayna pet him.

Some of his feral instincts are still there. He’s still shy around strangers. And if someone drops something on the ground, Osmo will run over, put it in his mouth, and try to run away with it. “One time, my roommate and I were eating corn and dropped a cob,” Dayna says. “Osmo grabbed the whole cob and ran away with it! He’s my little garbage beast.”

But for the most part, Osmo is unrecognizable from the cat that arrived on Dayna’s doorstep two years ago. “Osmo then versus Osmo now is like night and day,” she says. She feels incredibly grateful to have him in her life and is so happy that she was able to take him away from his difficult life in the colony and give him comfort.

“If you have the patience to build a bond with a feral cat, they have more love to give than any other cat.”

-Aleks Kandic