When Cosmo came to START II he was terrified. His eyes were round disks, pupils so dilated that hardly any green of his iris showed. I felt really bad for him. I’ve seen some cats adjust very quickly, immediately walking around the shelter like they own the place. Others have a very difficult time adjusting to their new surroundings (see Boots). Cosmo was one of the difficult ones. The different scents of all the other cats and dogs was too much too soon. The first day I met Cosmo, he didn’t purr once for me.
The next time I saw Cosmo, he was bit better. At least he would purr. However, he was still having a hard time adjusting to the other cats. A caution sign, as well as a “I DO NOT like other cats” label was fixed to his cage card. I knew that he wasn’t mean or feral. He was just scared. And I certainly wasn’t going to force him to adjust at my pace. Cosmo needed to adjust at his own pace.
One thing was certain. The number of cats at the shelter excited him. Not an excited in a playful way. More like an excited hissy-spitty-I’m-going-to-scratch-your-eyes-out sorta way. He was going to be a challenge to work with. A few of the volunteers didn’t feel comfortable cleaning his cage or socializing with him. I knew in my gut that he was a lovable, highly adoptable cat.
I set time aside during the days I volunteered for Cosmo. I made sure to give him extra pets, lots of hugs and kisses, and playtime. I know a couple of dedicated volunteers joined me in this crusade. Our group effort worked because in a couple of weeks, Cosmo was playful, bright-eyed, and loving. Each time I arrived in the morning, he paced back and forth meowing at me until I opened his cage to pet him. I still set time aside for him. He didn’t freak out as badly the last couple of weeks when other cats were out. It looked like he wanted to play. Cosmo loves playtime with people. One of his favorite games was chasing a feathered wand toy. He went absolutely bonkers over it.
A moment of clarity arose when I was playing with him one afternoon. I had half my body in his cage and I was giving him belly rubs. Cosmo decided to give me some pretty rough bunny kicks. He was totally into the moment and started biting my hand. Cosmo paused for a moment and looked at me. My face was right next to his. I half expected him to bite my cheek or scratch at my face, lost in the moment of playing. Instead, he rubbed his forehead against my cheek and gave me kisses. I returned his affections.
On Saturday evening I received a text that Cosmo found a forever home. I was so ecstatic that tears welled in my eyes. We thought he would have had to been adopted out of the shelter instead of showing at one of the Petsmart locations. A family saw him his first day at Petsmart and fell in love with him. That’s by buddy, Cosmo. What’s not to love?