After I sent e-mails and read LJ, I changed the cat boxes, their water dishes, packed my bag for work, and best of all, before leaving for the gym I lined my cat-carrier with sheets for a pick-up at the shelter tonight!!
Last night I went to the cat shelter and did some "petting therapy" with Henry's little (half?) sister Henrietta. Thanks to marveloustoy, Henry and Henrietta will both be going to a permanent home within a couple of weeks! marveloustoy is sharing her home with these two so they can become her cat Greebo's new buddies. Henrietta's exactly like Henry, but since the shelter got her at an earlier age than Henry, it's likely she'll become a people lover if she's given the right attention.
So, upon arriving at the shelter I went over to Henrietta and started talking to her soothingly. Unlike last time, she didn't hiss at me. She simply stared at me with wide eyes. Henry glared at me from the cage next door.
After twenty minutes I opened the door, slowly reached my hand in and began lightly stroking Henrietta behind her ears. Again, she just stared at me, but didn't hiss. After about 15 minutes of that, I reached my other hand to take her out of the cage. She didn't try to scramble away, but she put all four legs out, which made taking her out of the little opening a real challenge!!
As I started to pull her out of the door, she hooked her little front claws into the bottom bar of the opening, sticking her legs straight out. I tried so hard to keep from laughing, but I swear, it was like a cartoon... you know, where someone's pulling on someone straight out and they're clinging to a doorway for dear life.
Finally I unhooked her little claws and held her close. She stiffened up and just let me hold her. I started talking to her soothingly and stroked the insides of her ears, which I had earlier discovered was her secret "petting sweet spot." She started to relax and soon rested her head on my arm and let her eyes slowly soften, their lids droopy.
After walking her around, I sat in a corner on a wooden chair that was next to a cage that held the tiniest black kittens with little white markings and double paws. The two looked truly fightened and huddled together in the way back corner, peering out with curious, yet guarded eyes.
Settling Henrietta in my lap, I continued stroking her ears and chin, still talking to her. By then she'd begun purring and I'd let a few minutes go between speaking softly to her and assuring her she'd be okay. Each time I began talking, she'd turn her head and look up at me, the distrust gone from her eyes, replaced with curiosity and comfort.
After a while her purring began to soften and she burrowed her face in the crook of my arm. By this time a little over an hour had passed. I glanced to my left and noticed that one of the little black kittens that had been huddled in the corner was, instead, resting against the side of the cage closest to me, gazing at me as I spoke to Henrietta. Awwwww...!
A short while later a bunch of volunteers who assist Sheera had shown up and the room became very noisy. This startled Henrietta and she sat up, digging her claws into my legs. I could feel her heart beating hard against my arm. As I shifted to take her nails out of my leg, I noticed that my hand was a little wet. The kitten had been so content, she was drooling!!
Finally after almost two hours had gone by, I realized it was late and had to put Henrietta back in her cage. I contemplated bringing her home to foster until marveloustoy could come down, but then I remembered that we're baby-sitting Camden the Golden Retriever tonight. I figured mixing skittish Henrietta with a high-strung puppy might not be the best idea...
But I was pleased with Henrietta's progress. I could tell that she was a little calmer and she didn't scramble to hide when I returned her to her cage. Instead, she sat on top of her sleeper box and stared back at me with her little curious eyes.
She's going to be a great cat!!
Next... why I packed the carrier... (I'm sure you're all on edge, really...) ^_~