January 11, 2021

Charlie and Lulu: A story of behavior, patience, and love

A photo collage of two tan cats cuddling and sleeping together

Charlie the cat was a long-term resident at HSPPR, due to consistently being adopted and returned. However, he found a loving home with one of our volunteers, and below is his story!

“As a volunteer who works in both Adoptions and Admissions, I get to see both the happy and sad sides of situations. My experiences in Admissions are why I emphasize how important the notes on kennel cards are to potential adopters when considering adopting certain animals. Those notes help HSPPR staff and volunteers find the best fit for animals with a variety of issues and the right adopters who can make all the difference in their new pet’s world.

When I adopted Charlie on January 7, 2019, the note on his kennel card said he was best in a home without other cats or dogs. He had been brought in as a stray at approximately 4 months of age and was adopted three times in the five months prior to him becoming part of my family. The difference between those homes and mine was the existence of established pets he unfortunately didn’t get along with in the previous homes.

My son and I met Charlie on the first day of his Christmas break from school. After 18 days of daily interactions with Charlie, we couldn’t imagine not seeing him again. He had grabbed onto not only my heartstrings, but my son’s as well. On the last day of Christmas break, I picked my son up from practice and headed straight to HSPPR to adopt Charlie and bring him home with us.

Charlie was our first family pet in 15 years. Because we had almost three weeks’ worth of daily interaction with Charlie prior to him officially becoming part of our family, his adjustment to our home wasn’t an issue. What was an issue was his anxiety from what I’m assuming was his expectation of eventually going back to HSPPR for a fifth time. (To this day he is still scared of boxes and car rides.) His anxiety was clearly visible because he over-groomed himself so much so he was a half-hairless cat for the first six months he was with us. He eventually settled in and is king of his castle (and he knows it).

I had a gut feeling early on Charlie would do well with a kitten. For starters, he would be the established pet and his smell is all over our home. Secondly, he knows he and his many quirks are loved and he isn’t going anywhere except the vet’s office and home. Also, Charlie is an overstimulated cat with excessive energy and a kitten would be more playful than a full grown cat might/would be. Lastly, and most importantly, the kitten would be smaller than Charlie and non-threatening in a way a larger animal would be and Charlie would be able to watch the kitten become a full grown cat over time.

For 21 months I didn’t chance finding out because what if we adopted a kitten and my gut feeling was wrong? But…what if my gut feeling was right? My husband ultimately decided we were giving it a chance and I am so very glad we did. Charlie instantly took to his kitten we eventually named Lulu and he is thriving. He loves having a feline friend to play with, to cuddle/sleep with, and to excessively bathe whenever he wants (my face appreciates this so very much). The added bonus is Lulu has drained the overstimulation right out of Charlie in a way us humans never could.

Side note: kittens are NOT for the faint of heart.

What I *don’t* want people to take away from this is how HSPPR was wrong about Charlie doing best in a home without other animals and that must mean they are wrong about most/all the animals they adopt out. They weren’t wrong about that at the time of Charlie’s adoption, his needs simply changed over time in the right-for-him setting.

What I do want people to take away from this is how HSPPR gave my Charlie every chance he needed to find the right home for him and how important it is, regardless of previous experience, to be patient and get to know your new family member. You may find their personality and needs at a shelter change once they are in a homier setting.

I know I changed Charlie’s world forever the day I brought him home, but he changed my world forever too.💕”

Way to go, Charlie and family (and Lulu)! We are so glad Charlie found the purrrfect family for his needs. Our staff members do our best to note any potential behavior issues while pets are with us here at HSPPR. That way, our adopters know as much as possible about their new pets’ needs and ensure our adopted pets the best chance at being successful in their new homes. But so much is up to their new families! YOU can ensure your new pet is successful by being a responsible pet owner, training your pets, and giving them the confidence and security they need to thrive with you. #HappyTailsHappyHearts