Today we’re sharing the story of Jules, who first came to Cat Town in the spring of last year. As a former stray from the streets of East Oakland, she found her cage at the city shelter frightening, and wouldn’t let anyone near her. Jules needed someone to take a chance on her. Cat Town brought Jules under our wing in April of 2018, and if you visited during that time, you may have noticed she spent most of her time hiding.
Meanwhile, Sabine H. was considering adopting a cat, and a friend of hers recommended checking out Cat Town. “From my first visit, I loved the place,” shares Sabine. “It felt like a cat paradise. I liked that the cats might need a little extra effort to get comfortable with a new family. There’s something deeply satisfying about ‘loving a creature back to life.”
Jules caught Sabine’s eye quickly. “Honestly, the first thing was just that she was quite possibly the most beautiful cat I’d ever seen! Then when I interacted with her, I was instantly touched by how regal and yet vulnerable she seemed,” Sabine says. While Jules wouldn’t allow anyone to touch her, Sabine was still encouraged. “There was always a look in her eye that said there was hope.”
In September 2018, Jules went home with Sabine and her three kids. For the first several months in her new home, Jules hid under a bed 24/7, still finding it difficult to adjust to her new environment. Sabine worked closely with Jules’ case manager at Cat Town through weeks of painstaking efforts to help earn her trust.
Sabine and her kids showered Jules with her favorite treats and petted their other cat, Lulubelle, in front of Jules to show her that she was in a safe place. One of Sabine’s children would regularly read books aloud to Jules. For a long time, progress was so slow it was hard to even see anything happening, but bit by bit Jules blossomed. “The day she first let me touch her was a moment of such pure delight it brought tears to my eyes,” shares Sabine. “Despite all her fear, some part of her just melted into my hand, and she hasn’t looked back since. The best part of my day now is our evenings together when we cuddle together on the sofa, and she purrs so loudly it’s hard to hear the TV!”
Sabine and her family have discovered one of Jules’ favorite things is to have her belly rubbed. Jules and Lulubelle have also started to take steps in their relationship. “Over the months they have gone from annoyance to grudging respect to something that looks suspiciously like affection,” Sabine says.
For anyone considering adopting a cat who is a little more under-socialized, Sabine recommends adopters be committed and have patience — and not to underestimate the impact that dedicated and compassionate care can make in a feline’s life. “It’s so worth it!” she gushes. “There’s this huge sense of accomplishment that comes from helping a little creature who’s had a hard life find happiness. The bonds that are forged with a cat during that process are so deep.”
Sabine is also very grateful for the support she received from Cat Town’s staff and volunteers, and encourages potential adopters to reach out to them if they need help. “From out of the gate, they’ve gone above and beyond, and they have a wealth of ideas. There were multiple times when things felt stuck, and I was starting to think things couldn’t improve, and at each of those points someone from Cat Town came up with a new way to move things forward,” she says.
Sabine continues to be amazed at Jules’ transformation. “To see a cat who was so profoundly afraid of humans and yet who so clearly longed for affection and companionship overcome her fears has been rewarding beyond measure,” she says. “Jules came into the life of our family at a time when things were challenging, and just by being herself and letting us care for her, Jules gave me and my three boys a huge gift.”
Want to be part of the magic at Cat Town and foster a cat in need? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. We will match you with a cat who is right for your interest and experience level. You will also receive guidance and support from Cat Town staff, including help with everything from socialization to medical expenses.
If you can’t foster, but still want to help save at-risk cats, please consider donating to Cat Town today!
Photos by Liz Lazich