Your average pet stays at the Connecticut Humane Society for 26 days.
Then there’s Oscar.
Right from the get-go, everyone knew the buff-colored kitty would be here for the long haul.
His story starts off simple enough: He was caught outside on CHS property (whether he’d been let loose there, or a stray who wandered over, who knows), and brought inside.
Here’s where it gets complicated: The 13-pounder had a suspicious quarter-sized open wound on his leg. Since he’d been living outside before, could a wild animal have attacked him and exposed him to rabies? Had Oscar ever been vaccinated for rabies before? No one could know for sure.
Other than the mysterious wound and being covered in ticks, Oscar was in good shape. But state protocol calls for a six-month quarantine on site for any animal with an unknown vaccination history and with a wound of unknown origin because of the rabies risk. (That’s why it’s so crucial to keep your pets up to date on rabies vaccinations.)
And that meant Oscar couldn’t start his search for a new family for several months, even though CHS’ medical department gave him all the veterinary care he needed to heal from the bite and the ticks.
A long quarantine is not an easy feat for any animal shelter to take on. There are space considerations to make sure other pets in need can be accommodated during that time. Plus, CHS wouldn’t feel comfortable with an animal in a cage that long.
CHS’ standard for animals warranting an extended stay is to provide extra special care—safe, bigger spaces beyond a kennel or kitty condo, and extended time with humans for socialization. Staving off Oscar’s boredom for six months was going to be challenging, but CHS staff and volunteers were up to the task.
So Oscar got promoted to “office helper” with two CHS administrators who had received rabies vaccinations, where he could jump on chairs and hold meetings, lounge on top of desks, and chase toys … so many toys.
At just 2 years old, Oscar had a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. He needed more ways to use it up (“supervising” his human pals just wasn’t enough). One way to keep a cat like him busy and thinking? Teach him tricks (seriously—treats can work wonders).
With lessons from CHS’ behavior coordinator, Oscar learned “sit, “so big,” “spin,” “high-five,” and more. Over his six-month stay, he went from a shy, scared kitty, to a confident, friendly cat and “Absolute Purr Machine,” as his notes said. Check out his tricks proficiency in this video.
Finally, the day came when his quarantine was up and he was officially ready for adoption. He met some new friends and got the promotion of his dreams: These days, his new title is Beloved Family Member.