Happy Tail: Willow and Wisp (formerly Pepper and Cinnamon)
On a snowy day in December 2019, a member of the community contacted ACR about a mother cat and her kitten. The kitten — dubbed Pepper — looked to be only six weeks old and was sleeping with her mother Cinnamon on someone’s porch in downtown Toronto.
One of ACR’s superstar volunteers, Kirstin, went out in a snowstorm to try and trap the pair. She was able to trap baby Pepper quite quickly, but Cinnamon proved to be much more difficult. She was eventually trapped the next day, but then escaped as she was being dropped off to Kirstin and ran into a neighbour’s yard.
Thinking quickly, Kirstin put Pepper in a carrier in the backyard to keep Cinnamon in the area. When this did not work, and with Pepper getting cold, Kirstin played a recording of Pepper’s cries and set up traps in her backyard. Kirstin spent hours manning the trap. After five days, she was able to re-capture Cinnamon.
Mother and baby were soon reunited, much to the delight of both; however, Cinnamon was feral and untrusting of humans. Kirstin worked with her for a few months — gentle exposure, “accidentally” touching her when putting down food, and feeding her treats from her hand. Eventually, it was if a switch went off in Cinnamon and she realized she liked head scratches, but she was never completely comfortable with Kirstin.
Kirstin knew that Cinnamon and Pepper needed to be adopted together, especially after the adventure of being separated and reunited. Enter Jenn and Erik, who brought the pair home on March 13, 2021.
Jenn and Erik had recently tragically lost one of their cats, Beau. The house felt empty and their remaining cat, Deego, was very lonely. They knew they wanted to adopt a young adult female cat but were looking for a cat who was shy or might be more difficult to adopt out, having experience with shy and scared cats. When they saw Pepper and Cinnamon and read their story, Jenn and Erik knew that the pair would be a perfect addition to their family.
When Pepper and Cinnamon — renamed Willow and Wisp — joined their family, it was love at first sight for Jenn and Erik. But the cats were not so sure. Jenn and Erik set up a room for them to decompress and get used to their new surroundings. Things moved quickly from there and by the second day, Willow and Wisp were accepting treats. Within two weeks, there was a complete integration between Deego, Willow, and Wisp, complete with cuddles. After less than a month, Willow became a lap cat, soon followed by Wisp.
Willow and Wisp even allowed themselves to be picked up and carried around. Soon they were seeking out attention and affection from Jenn and Erik. By October, Willow was sleeping on the bed with them.
Jenn and Erik truly believe Willow and Wisp were meant to join their family. They have come leaps and bounds from the shy cats they first adopted. They even welcomed their new baby cat-brother, Dusk, and along with Deego have become one big happy family. Willow and Wisp’s story is an excellent reminder that even the shy, scared, or feral cats are deserving of love and a forever home.