Edith used to run with a rough crowd. She hung out with a group of stray cats who taught her to stay clear of people except for the one guy who left food for them in his yard. Oh, he couldn't touch any of the cats, but for some reason Edith took a liking to him and eventually let him touch her just enough to bring her to our Waterford shelter. When Edith arrived at the Connecticut Humane Society in Waterford, she was shy and tentative but in the hands of the medical team, she tolerated her examination.
After a few days, Edith grew more nervous and became more reclusive. She stopped eating regularly and lost weight which immediately alerted her caregivers to act. Testing revealed that she was experiencing a urinary tract problem requiring a special diet and close monitoring. Edith didn't feel well and also became more withdrawn despite daily encouragement from her caregivers. She didn't want to be touched and seemed to have lost her ability to trust anyone.
The behavior team had to find a way to help Edith with a plan that involved extra special delicious wet food, and daily human engagement using training exercises (yes, training for a kitty cat) to help Edith grow more accustomed to new people, noises and scary things that go bump in the night. A combination of "clicker training" to reinforce positive behavior and "targeting " to draw her towards people got her out of her darkness and engaging with people again. She began purring while being pet and solicited attention from some of her favorite people.
Having that success was moving in the right direction, but finding that perfect friend for life proved somewhat elusive. Edith was now very friendly with all her CHS buddies but remained shy with potential adopters. To help reach more people, staff boosted her publicity because they all knew Edith was a great companion.
One day in early August, after Edith had spent several months searching for love, a young woman came in asking for her because she was featured in the local paper. Edith must have known that this person was going to be her friend for life because without encouragement she came to the front of the cage asking her visitor to pet her. Today, Edith happily lounges on one of her favorite tables in her new home with that special visitor. She has left the gang and has a new friend for life!