I met up with Heidi and her foster mom Wednesday night at a Petsmart. The foster mom had warned me that Heidi was shy and might not respond so much at first. Heidi was pregnant when the rescue people got her about two and a half years ago. Her kittens all got adopted, but she's been in foster care ever since. She's never had much space or a person of her own. The foster mom was talking about how Heidi and cats like her that aren't spectacular get overlooked in rescue work, and I'm sitting there petting this little cat that isn't responding to me at all and thinking, man, I'd kind of like a gorgeous kitty with a great personality.
But there she was. And I couldn't just leave her there. I know what it's like to be overlooked for being plain. The foster mom convinced me to take her home for a couple of weeks and see how it went. A hundred-dollar adoption fee and another hundred bucks of supplies later, I was on my way down 85, wondering exactly what the hell I had just gotten myself into.
Once I got Heidi inside, she immediately started looking for places to hide. In fact, she hid so well that I couldn't find her. I waited, and after a little while she came out, and I noticed all over again how cute she was. She let me comb her, and after a couple of hours she was comfortable enough to plop over and let me rub her belly. Foster mom was very impressed when I informed her over email.
So far, it's slow going. Heidi's really very timid -- loud noises startle her and send her running, and right now, everything seems to be a loud noise. I suspect she forgets who I am every time I leave the house. She did okay when she met my landlady yesterday, but is terrified by the barking of her dog (never mind that the dog is a Jack Russell not much bigger than her, Heidi doesn't know that). She's shown no interest in treats (I suppose I'll try tuna next) and very little in food. She's not shown much interest in most of her toys, but she played enthusiastically with the fishing pole with feathers last night. She REALLY likes catnip. She hid her catnip hedgehog the first night and I haven't seen it since. I think catnip is behind her weird running-across-the-apartment fits. Great. I have a stoner kitty.
But despite all my worrying, this morning I was woken not by the usual obnoxious alarm clock, but a soft nuzzle on the back of my neck. I think Heidi and I might do okay after all.
In the meantime, does anyone who's adopted a shy adult cat have any advice for me?