Rehabilitating Aina

Many cats arrive at APROP with unknown histories and Aina was one of these. She was left in the exterior kennel with several other young cats of different ages.  She was very nervous and withdrawn and hid whenever humans were near.  We don’t know whether or not she was previously socialised and then neglected or abandoned or whether perhaps she had a bad experience or was abused which caused her to be withdrawn and scared of people.  This, coupled with her being put into an unfamiliar environment, makes it very difficult for us to make an accurate first assessment.

Even after a few weeks of being at APROP, Aina was still very nervous and wary of people.  Our challenge was to determine whether Aina could become tame enough to be adoptable, or whether she would be happier in our external colony.

There is no single approach to encourage a cat to develop a level of trust in humans and to enjoy interacting with us and being stroked and played with.  It is a question of patiently spending time with the cat and slowly learning what they will tolerate or enjoy.  With many cats/kittens we use play first and use a toy wand to get over that initial touch barrier.  For other cats/kittens treats are the way forward.  Liquid treats are a good tool.  If a cat is willing to lick a liquid treat off your fingers, it starts to build a level of trust and a relationship.  This is especially true if they don’t “eat and run” but spend time sniffing your fingers to see if all the treat has gone.

After a while we were able to touch Aina’s scent glands in her cheeks and she appeared to close her eyes in enjoyment.  That gave us the confidence to continue.   We then used play to create an enjoyable experience for her and she started to use her voice to chirrup/communicate with us.  It is interesting to note that cats do not usually communicate vocally with other cats.  They usually save their vocalisations for humans.

It has taken several weeks but Aina has made great progress.  She absolutely loves to play and she enjoys being talked to and she responds.  She knows her name, particularly if you use a “sing song” voice to say it.  She is now ready to make the move to a home environment with somebody who can provide a safe and nurturing environment for her to complete her transition to a loved family pet.

Transformations like these can only happen if we have volunteers willing to give up some of their time to rehabilitate cats and kittens like Aina.  Their future quality of life is so much better if we can help cats like her become adoptable rather than living outside as street cats, even in a protected environment like APROP. 

If you would like to know more about how you can help cats like Aina, please contact us.

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