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OAKLAND, Calif. — Under a pile of shy and stressed kittens, a little ball of black fur tried to make himself invisible. "He was just so tiny," Angela, a cat-care attendant, recalled.

That mini-panther got the unlikely name of Tofu. And on July 19, he began a journey from forgotten kitten — hissy and untouchable — to sweet companion, ready to find his people.

It's a common story at Cat Town. But by virtue of being one of the few rescues willing to take in the most undersocialized cats, it is still a rarity for a former stray like Tofu to get a second chance.

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The progression for members of our Forgotten Kitten Project, those who missed out on human interaction during their crucial early months, often looks just Tofu's:

Day 1: "When I entered the room, Tofu was very alarmed and went and sat on top of Jennifer (another kitten), who was pressed against the wall."

Day 2: "I didn’t even know the kittens were in there until someone pointed out their hiding place in the corner behind the cube. Tofu and Jennifer stayed huddled behind or under Sheila (another kitten) and never engaged with me at all." 

These are the detailed notes specially trained volunteers take about their interactions with the FKPs, as we call them. 

Fast forward two months:

"Once calm and receptive, Tofu enjoys head butting."

And this week:

"Tofu settled into the floor cubby and leaned into pets and purred."

In Tofu's case, early breakthroughs came during interactions with a staff member. Angela, the cat-care attendant, forged a special bond with Tofu after having to administer daily medication for an eye condition. Angela said despite the four other more confident kittens in the room at the time, Tofu made an impression on her. "He's very sweet." (Angela is pictured in the images with Tofu in this post. Photos by Cathy Niland)

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Tofu is now around 6 months old and available for adoption. He remains shy. But he is a gentle kitty who warms up to patient people who get down on his level and extend a hand for pets. 

Tofu is bonded with a spunky tortie named Sheila. They must go home together. And we are excited to see who will be their new best friends.

To meet Tofu, or any of our adoptable cats, write to 

Cat Town is working to help other rescues across the country replicate our work with Forgotten Kittens thanks to a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund. First visit to the Cat Town blog? Learn more about our Forgotten Kitten Project in our regular Kitten Wire dispatches.

Be sure to check out last week's post, a special photo feature!

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