Introduction: Squirrel

Squirrel has turned into a long-term foster of ours. I’m somewhat surprised that I haven’t mentioned her yet.

Squirrel has been with us since October 2015. The Humane Society of Charles County reached out to OMC, saying that Squirrel’s days were numbered. I asked if they could cat test her, since it’s important that fosters get along with my cats. They said she did get along with other cats, so we said yes, and agreed to meet at National Harbor to pick her up.

The first thing my husband and I noticed was that she was eartipped. When a cat is ear tipped, it usually means they’re feral. The story that we’d received was that someone let her live in the garage, and fed her and socialized with her, until the landlord told that person they couldn’t do that. So Squirrel had to go. That isn’t exactly feral, but she doesn’t exactly count as a house cat either.

The second thing we noticed was that her medical paperwork had ‘AGGRESSIVE’ written right across. Uh Oh.

For the first few weeks, she lived in our bathroom. Sometimes she wanted lots of affection, but would turn on you with no warning and bite or scratch. If you had to use the bathroom, she’d sit above the toilet paper dispenser, waiting for when you needed it so that she could attack you. Playing dirty, I know.

It got to a point that my husband began washing his hands in the kitchen sink after using the bathroom, because he didn’t want to risk getting attacked while doing so. Eventually, I got the courage to pick her up and move her into our third bedroom, hoping the extra space and window view might help.

It helped Squirrel in a small way. She enjoys sitting by the window, especially when we crack it open a little.

Unfortunately, they weren’t 100% correct on her getting along well with other cats. Our cats would rush her door, wanting the leftover food she’d have in her bowl. She was not a fan of that. When we would leave her door open in hopes that she’d adjust to other cats, she’d block the path to the litterbox for Patches. This led to a few weeks of Patches not bothering to get to the box and subsequently peeing in the hallway instead. Admittedly, we gave up on the idea of her being able to mingle with our cats for quite some time.

One family showed interest in her. They were great applicants, but I didn’t want to lie to them. Squirrel isn’t a lap cat. She’s a leave me alone and be my roommate cat. They seemed fine with that idea, and we made an appointment for them to come over.

Dwight and I prepared as well as we could; we cleaned Squirrel’s room, and took her to the vet to have her nails trimmed (we learned that while she may be mean, she’s petrified of the vet).

The couple visited, and despite all their patience, she clawed them pretty bad. They decided against adoption.

A second couple was interested. This time, we opened her door for extended periods of time, trying to see if she’d do okay with our cats. Her ability to wander parts of our home seemed to chill her out at least somewhat. The couple visited, and she took a swipe once, but didn’t attack them. Phew.

That family didn’t work out though, as they had outside factors that kept them from being able to. Since then though, Squirrel has begun exploring the rest of the house. She doesn’t like the other cats coming near her much, but she’s definitely calmed down. My husband has found that if she sniffs us for awhile, then it’s okay to pet her head. It’s pretty much never okay to pet her anywhere else. Despite her attitude, she lets you pick her up with lots of tolerance. Her favorite toy is a cigar shaped catnip toy. She will get aggressive with other cats if she’s around her catnip toy.

The more we learn about Squirrel, the more at ease it’s becoming for both her and us. This is well and good, but cats with these personalities are truly difficult to adopt out. Due to her aggressive mature, the rescue began warning applicants about her nature, to see if they’re sure they want to continue the application process for her. It sucks, but it’s necessary to avoid wasting any one’s time. She needs a family with no children, and only one or two other cats. They need to be quiet, with space for Squirrel to be herself. They can’t expect a cuddle cat, but rather a companion. She’s very playful, and a beautiful girl. It’s just difficult to compete against cuddlebugs and kittens, and I don’t know how long we’ll have her for.

2016-06-01

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