Angie, a 2-year-old cat, didn’t want to be touched. She would hiss and snarl if someone tried to pet her, or she would flee and hide in a shadowy place.
As an independent cat rescuer located in Singapore, Fiona Loh said, “She lashed out at every human who tried to go near her.” She would also urinate when someone touched her out of fear. She was an emotional disaster.
Last year, rescuers and authorities gained access to a two-bedroom apartment in Singapore and found 94 sick and starving cats living in filth. Angie was one of the them.
“Angie was malnourished and extremely timid,” Loh said. “It took us quite some time to be able to get her secured in a carrier during the rescue operation.”
Even though owner kept the cats in a try to “sell” them, the most of them were really too ill to do so. Considering how little interaction they had previously had with humans, many of the cats were also quite wary of them.
All of the cats were successfully rescued from the abandoned apartment and sent to a boarding facility that was clean and safe. The most of the cats were subsequently adopted by forever families or put in long-term foster homes over the course of the following 12 months, all save Angie. This was a major factor in why Angie never overcame her dread of people.
When the boarding facility eventually closed, Loh took Angie home to foster her, hoping that Angie would come out of her shell.
After daily observation, Loh said, “I found that Angie is neither fearful nor timid.” Through the use of a video camera system, I learned that Angie played with toys and independently explored the area she was in. But as soon as a person entered the space, she scurried back inside her cage. and snarled at the human after that.
Loh continued to show no signs of giving up.
“I believed Angie would open up to humans eventually — it is only a matter of time and patience,” Loh said. “Angie was not able to find an adopter prior to this because she was too ‘feral’ in the sense.
She was not ready to be adopted. Should we rehome her hastily, she may end up going missing, or try means and ways to escape her adopter’s home, or injuring people who may not have experience with such cats.”
After being unable to touch Angie for almost a year, Loh finally gave her a hand and stroked her fur. Angie didn’t move this time.
It was fantastic, said Loh. My heart literally felt like it was bursting with delight.
After this encounter, Angie became more and more accustomed to Loh — and she even started to enjoy getting attention.
“Angie is a very affectionate little girl,” Loh said. “She kneads a lot, and now meows if she wants me to just sit with her. While she still flinches sometimes when I touch her, especially her face, she bounces back quickly and doesn’t flee after that.”
She loves belly massages and would frequently turn over on her side to get one, said Loh. She still needs a secure place to go when she is uneasy, but other than that, she is doing great right now.