Hazel, a shelter cat

IMAG1310After 20 years of being ‘catless’, we adopted a tortoiseshell cat named Hazel at a CARE shelter the day after Christmas, 2013. Her story was compelling:

Hazel was found about a year and a half ago, heavily pregnant. When she arrived at the shelter, they decided to have her live temporarily with this woman, who usually fostered kittens, until she gave birth and the kittens were old enough to return to the shelter for adoption.

So the woman took her in and told us that Hazel was an excellent mother: she always let her kittens nurse as long as they wanted, unlike many animal mothers who will get up and walk away from their litter when they get tired of nursing. She cleaned her 6 kittens well, and one of them – the “runt” of the litter – was a little developmentally delayed. He was slow to learn to walk, so Hazel nudged him and pushed him along to help him learn. The foster woman thought it was quite extraordinary.

When the kittens were a couple of months old, they were taken back to the shelter, along with their mom, and all were spayed/neutered, micro-chipped and got their vaccinations. Over the next few weeks or months, all Hazel’s kittens were adopted. Yet Hazel remained in the shelter. By the time we showed up, she had been there for over a year!

When we asked the shelter volunteers why, we were told that Hazel doesn’t get along with other cats, and the kind of people who adopt adult cats like her usually are experienced owners who have other cats at home. Newcomers to cat ownership apparently prefer kittens and young cats (less than a year old).

I couldn’t understand it – this cat was so mellow and seemed to love all the attention we were giving her. We visited with her in the office (she was a bit scared of the converted bathroom, apparently) for a long time. We made up our minds – we would adopt Hazel.

The volunteers as well as the foster mother were overjoyed. So much so that they cried and hugged us, saying it was the best Christmas present that anyone could give them!

My sister-in-law, a multiple cat owner and expert, had this reaction to our news about Hazel:  “Ah – a tortie! Torties have cat-titude!” Meaning they insist upon their own way – “my way or the highway”!

That didn’t sound like the Hazel we’d met, so mellow and affectionate, purring loudly as we pet her. But the shelter volunteers did assure us that indeed, Hazel had cat-titude! And since then, we’ve found out that this is the truth!

Hazel is very playful and likes to race around the house, jumping up on ????????????????????

Hazel in a playful mood

Hazel in a playful mood

one window sill in front, then another in back. She also likes to play a game of chase! She can be affectionate, but only on her own terms. At night, she’ll come into our room and sleep on the bed. Sometimes she’ll jump on a lap but doesn’t stay there long! And if she doesn’t want to be

Kitty TV!

Kitty TV!

stroked, she runs away.

I am a bit jealous of my husband, whom Hazel seems to favor. She follows him around the house – she always likes to be near us, even if she doesn’t want to be with us. She isn’t too shy though – one evening I had eight people over for a discussion group, and she stayed in the room the entire time, watching and dozing from the safety of her bed, the bed she grew attached to at the shelter.

Hazel is curious, likes humans but only interacts with them when she wants to, playful and sometimes very silly! She will be entertaining us for many years to come!





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