Bastet was super challenging at the shelter because she sat at the front of her cage seemingly wanting attention but would swat, hard, at anyone who tried to touch her. Figuring she was just struggling with being confined, we brought her to our transition space at the Cafe to let her decompress. She stayed in hiding for weeks before she would let anyone engage with her. But, we were patient and let her call the shots. We had guessed that she was stressed by the other cats at the shelter, but found she’d really softened, and became more confident around another feline companion. She’s a great example of how sensitive cats are to their environment, showing us what a playful and affectionate cat she is, now that she feels safe.
Buttercup was a tweenie kitten found on the streets of Oakland, brought to the city shelter after biting her finder. For cats who’ve lived on the streets, avoiding being trapped or touched is necessary for their survival. Buttercup hissed and swatted at shelter visitors, and was simply growing older as a fearful, under-socialized kitten who needed out. We call the kittens who are afraid of people and past the ideal socializing age the Forgotten Kittens, kittens who end up euthanized in large numbers at shelters with most people not knowing they existed at all. We brought Buttercup to the Cat Town Cafe to give her space to find her footing with confident cats who could model appropriate behavior and interaction with people. After spending her days playing in an open space with other cats and people nearby, she began to let her guard down, eventually becoming a lap cap. Now she spends her days dancing around her family’s house, chasing toys and seeking pets.
Howie came to us through the city shelter in Hayward. He’d spent about 6 months at the shelter and had become very depressed. As part of our mission, we are dedicated to giving FIV+ cats the second chance at life that they deserve, so in the process of forming our partnership with the Hayward shelter, we were able to take FIV+ Howie to Cat Town. During his time in the Cafe, he blossomed, playing with guests, soaking up pets, and posing for photos left and right. He was able to be himself again. Since being adopted in March of 2016, Howie’s been living well and enjoying life after the shelter.
Lowell arrived at Oakland Animal Services in June of 2016 after being left in a carrier at the shelter door overnight. After going through the initial testing process, OAS learned that Lowell was FIV+. When he went up for adoption, he became overstimulated, and unfortunately bit someone. That’s when he came onto Cat Town’s radar. With all the commotion at the shelter, Lowell was having a hard time kicking the biting habit, and the stress wasn’t helping, so we brought him to Cat Town. As our foster coordinator was moving him, she noticed a small patch of missing hair near Lowell’s ear, which ended up being the first sign of ringworm. It was crucial that he not spend anymore time at the shelter, because he was stressed, but especially because of his condition. So we put him in a clean and secure space in our holding area at Cat Town, where he could recover from his condition, while still getting attention and playtime from our specially trained volunteers. Now, after a couple months recovering from Ringworm, Lowell is cleared and more than ready to find his home.
Life in the shelter is stressful for most cats, but for a 16-year-old like Meeka, losing a home is especially traumatic. Shelter stress can quickly become life-threatening for an older cat, where they may stop eating and are susceptible to illness. Meeka was unnerved by the sudden loss of everything familiar, traded for the chaotic, noisy environment she found herself in at Oakland’s municipal shelter. “Surrenders” like Meeka, who’ve only known life as part of a family, are often the most stressed, shut-down, or likely to lash out in a shelter where they struggle to cope. Other rescues won’t take a chance on these cats who need help most desperately, which is why stressed surrenders are a population of cats we focus on saving. Meeka is currently awaiting an adoptive family in a Cat Town foster home, where she has shown herself to be the loving, affable girl we knew she would be, if just given the chance.
Sunday made her way to Oakland Animal Services after being trapped as a stray. Her behavior led us to believe she had little experience with humans and many volunteers believed she might be feral, but she showed a glimmer of a cat who craved human interaction. So she moved to a Cat Town foster home, where Sunday’s foster mom worked tirelessly to impact her relationship with humans, especially through play, but made little to no progress. We made the decision to move her to our Cat Zone 2 space at the Cat Town Cafe, where she received lots of dedicated attention from our volunteers who are specially trained in working with undersocialized cats. We also introduced her to two other cats waiting to move into the main Cat Zone, which could have told us one of two things; that she hated other cats, or that she could learn from them. We’re happy to say it turned out to be the later. So after a few more weeks with our dedicated volunteers, Sunday was moved into the Cat Zone where she continued to observe the other cats and learn how to interact with humans. After nearly 10 months with Cat Town, Sunday turned into quite the lap cat, and a huge fan of play, and finally found the family she deserved. Sunday’s transformation didn’t happen overnight, but we’re happy to provide a space for cats like Sunday to grow in the time they need.
Senior cat Coral found her family through Cat Town after a long hard road of learning to trust people. During Coral’s 3 months in a shelter cage, she would duck and wince whenever approached, not allowing anyone to touch her. After getting her some much-needed dental work, we took Coral into foster-care where she made slow progress over 2 years, where she started to allow herself to be out in the open, out of hiding. Although she was one of Cat Town’s longest foster-care cats, Coral’s life was worth saving. Today Coral is a bonafide lap cat who has settled in with her family, enjoying her golden years to the fullest.
People often think of cats as solitary animals, but so many of them depend on each other for comfort, play, and companionship. We brought bonded brothers, Batty and Deckard to Cat Town as kittens, to give them a better chance at being adopted together. Kittens are especially dependent on each other for play, but Deckard greatly depended on Batty, the more confident of the two, to teach him how to build positive relationships with humans. After a few months, it was clear that Deckard had learned so much from his brother - a once shy, hesitant cat became an outgoing, playful, affectionate companion, thanks in large part to being with Batty. Now these brothers enjoy all the pets and play they want in their new home.