Black Cats Bond at the Shelter
After being rescued by one of our incredible local community partners, shy black cats Einstein and Skeeter arrived at Baypath within days of each other. Extremely under-socialized, both kitties not only received comprehensive medical care for their chronic upper respiratory infections, but also loving attention and consistent training from shelter staff and volunteers.
Due to Einstein’s young age and timid demeanor, staff asked cat foster Emily Alexander if she was willing to take the little guy home. Shares Emily, “When I peeked into his carrier and saw a teeny black kitten up against the back wall, I knew I’d take him. Who could say no to a black kitten? Definitely not me!” Though it took some time to warm up and interact, Einstein was curious and sweet from the beginning. Emily made him as cozy as possible, creating a nest of blankets under which to hide. To begin socializing, she fed Einstein chicken treats by hand. According to Emily, it didn’t take long for him to be comfortable enough to snuggle in her lap. “The end of his tail would curl up really tight, like a cinnamon bun…ridiculously cute!”
Several weeks in foster helped Einstein grow stronger and more confident. Upon arriving back at the shelter, this handsome lil’guy was welcomed with open paws by fellow introvert Skeeter. Despite their age difference, kitten Einstein and 2-year-old Skeeter bonded, often seen canoodling and playing together in ‘The Library,’ a room designed specifically for reserved and nervous felines.
One of our dedicated cat volunteers, Payel Thakurta, noticed how Einstein and Skeeter were fast becoming each other’s furry sidekick – and decided to make this eclectic pair part of her fur-loving family! Already a mom to five other felines including three Baypath alums, Payel understood the effort required to welcome these special cats into her home, considering the kind and patient work she had already done at the shelter:
“Skeeter hissed at me the first time I opened his cage, but it was clear from his kind eyes that he was just scared, and I needed to put the work in to gain his trust. Every cat has a different motivation such as food, treats or toys, and soon enough I discovered both Einstein and Skeeter absolutely love Temptations treats and wand toys! Once you discover each unique kitty’s motivation, it gets much easier to build trust with conditioning and positive reinforcement.”
Our Animal Care Associates & Adoption Counselors always reinforce to our adopters the importance of slow introductions to allow new pets time to decompress. Offering a masterclass on the subject, Payel explains: “Keeping both Einstein and Skeeter in a separate room for the first few days, spending time with them, scent-swapping and gradual short visits with our resident cats allowed them both to settle in surprisingly well. I’m so glad I adopted them together!”
Now known as Ollie and Cookie, Einstein and Skeeter are living their best lives with Payel and her family, their true personalities emerging more every day. Unsurprising considering his original moniker, Einstein has turned out to be quite the intellectual, answering right away to his new name. And Skeeter? His favorite things include cuddling, playing and rolling around exuberantly in any catnip he can get his paws on!
Happy endings like Einstein and Skeeter’s are the result of Baypath’s entire village, made up of skilled staff, amazing fosters, devoted volunteers and doting adopters. Our foster families truly make a lifesaving difference, particularly for those dogs and cats who come to us with medical or behavioral needs requiring specialized care and attention. Thanks to Emily, Einstein had the opportunity to gain confidence in a home setting before being adopted. Compassionate, tenderhearted volunteers and adopters like Payel create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the shelter as well as in their homes, allowing cats like Skeeter a chance to snuggle to their heart’s content, surrounded by the animals and people who love them.
As Emily said, it really is hard to resist an adorable black kitty – perhaps that’s why Payel took home two!