By Katherine Spink, PAWS Staff
Adopted by Estelle and her husband back in April 2013, the once-fearful Maki has blossomed into a playful cuddle bug. We caught up with Estelle recently and she gave us this wonderful update on life since becoming a PAWS parent!
What made you decide to adopt from a shelter?
My husband and I wanted to give a forever home to a shelter cat and specifically, we wanted to adopt a "less adoptable" adult cat.
We adopted from PAWS because we’ve made donations in the past and are avid followers of this local non-profit.
What was it that most attracted you to Maki?
Maki needed very specific living conditions: the only pet, in a home without children with a predictable environment. She was a perfect match for our life choice.
The fact that Maki wasn't cooperative during the visit didn't stop us from wanting to adopt her. If anything, it made us want to take care of her even more. I knew that with time, her and I would become best friends.
How would you describe her personality?
Maki is a gentle little cuddle bug at heart, she loves to be held and be kissed behind her ears and, now that we’ve won her heart, she sleeps by our side every night.
She loves to play hide and seek, loves to pounce, and loves to place her feather toys all around the house for us. She’s a little kitten at heart, so playful!
How was your adoption experience with PAWS?
I’m amazed at how accurately PAWS outlined her personality and what was best for her.
Our success was a combination of what we had to offer and PAWS’ dedication in finding the right homes for the pets waiting for adoption.
Tell us about your first journey home and how Maki settled in.
Maki was stressed from all the changes that had happened in her kitty life in such a short time, and she was very scared initially. Soon after arriving home, however, her instincts took over and she went in all the rooms to explore and smell.
All in all, it took about a year for Maki to adapt to her new home. It was hard for her to trust that this change in her life was beneficial to her.
We learned to be patient and gentle with her and let her decide when she’d had enough interaction. Hissing, biting, hiding became less and less frequent and she gradually became more and more confident and relaxed.
What have you experienced together since Maki came home?
Maki and I are very attached to one another. When I am home, she follows me around everywhere! She thinks my husband and I are big kitties and she loves to play tag with us. She is of course better at it than me. We also race each other up the stairs but once again, she always wins!
Our living room is her playground and we often watch the squirrels and birds out the window together. She loves to wake my husband up in the morning by walking all over him!
How has Maki changed your life?
Maki has taught me to let go and relax; because she can sense stress, it was important that we learned to be attentive to our levels of stress in our interactions with her.
Maki also taught me to never give up. I had times where I thought that Maki would never open up to us, but I never stopped wanting to be her human friend. I am glad I was patient with her and let her adopt us at her own pace.
My husband mentioned that, when she hears my car pull up in the driveway, she runs to the door meowing and when I open it, all I see my little furry girl with her tail up, ready to be picked up for a snuggle. This moment always brightens my day.
She taught me that trust from a furry friend is a precious gift, earned from a real connection heart to heart. I love her to pieces.
Any advice for people considering adopting a cat?
I think that the key to a successful adoption is to assess and understand the needs of the cat you want to adopt and make sure that your home offers the best conditions to raise a happy cat.
Don't be discouraged by the bumps on the road helping your feline friend adapt to her new home. It can take years for an adult cat to reach true happiness. Let your kitty build a relationship with you. Trust her to bond with you and the day she will, it will be for life!
If you come across behavioral issues, don't stay alone with your questions and concerns, you can find great support and advice in so many places: PAWS, for instance, has a behaviorist and variety of online resources. Above all, keep the faith—very simple changes can turn a scared kitty into a happy feline.
Finally, when you adopt an adult cat, unlearn all your assumptions and start over with that special little friend that you brought home! Praise and reward verbally and with treats—just like dogs, cats love to please too!
Estelle—we're so very thankful that Maki found you and your husband! Your kindness, patience, honesty and encouragement will be an inspiration to many other families looking to adopt. Wishing you all many play-filled years ahead!
Find your Maki today—adopt.
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