behavior cats

KITTEN WIRE: BREAKTHROUGH ALERT WITH SUZY

KITTEN WIRE: BREAKTHROUGH ALERT WITH SUZY

OAKLAND — Can a cat who spent the early months of her life on the streets learn to like people?

At Cat Town, we know the answer is yes, given the right conditions.

That's what we're working on with a cat named Suzy, one of the kittens born homeless during the 2017 kitten season. This tortie girl with tufts of black, tan and orange fur managed to evade a rescuer's humane traps for months. As her littermates found their way to Oakland Animal Services and then on to Cat Town, which found them homes, Suzy remained a stray.

Looking Past the Fear

Looking Past the Fear

The Oakland shelter takes in thousands of cats each year. Some are confident, and greet you purring, while others hide behind their litter boxes, or hiss at the sound of their cage door rattling open. Before Cat Town, many cats never left the shelter because of how they react to life in a cage.

I wanted Cat Town to focus on these cats at the back of the shelter. The ones who rescue organizations wouldn’t risk taking. I thought, if people could see these cats, there would be others who would want to help them, too. Thankfully, I was right.

Our House is Now a Home with Elsa

Our House is Now a Home with Elsa

When Elsa arrived at Cat Town, she wanted nothing to do with people and even less to do with other cats. She tucked herself into corners and did her best impression of a turtle, retracting her head any time a hand came near. My fellow volunteers and I worked to soften her, but had little success.

A few weeks into her stay, my boyfriend, Elliot and I stopped by. We both agreed that something about Elsa’s lack of interest made her all the more lovable. Elliot reached into the cubby where Elsa was hiding to let her sniff his hand, and for the first time, she did. We didn’t know it then, but our fates were sealed in that tiny moment.

KITTEN WIRE: HOW WE GET FROM FEARFUL TO FRIENDLY

KITTEN WIRE: HOW WE GET FROM FEARFUL TO FRIENDLY

OAKLAND — It usually starts with some stinky food.

When the shy, stressed or sick young rescues arrive at Cat Town, we turn to proven techniques and time-tested tools — like extra funky food treats — to begin the socialization process. Then there's the way we talk to the cats. How we walk in a room. How we introduce toys. And the way we document each step so dozens of volunteers and the staff who care for them understands their medical and social progress.