Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Are Adopted Animals More Affectionate?

I have adopted three cats in my life, one was feral, one from a rescue home, and another from the Humans Society. I have also raised three cats. The connection forged with the ones raised was undeniable, we knew what each other was thinking. But I enjoy spoiling my cats, and it shows when I raise them because they wind up being very independent as they get older.

The adopted cats were different though, they always wanted to be near me, even the feral one who was named Heather. My current one, Pepper, was adopted from the Humane Society, she is the reason for this blog. Pepper is still adjusting but I can already see her need for extra attention and affection. So let's start with Heather.

Heather was a neighborhood dominant cat, she was essentially feral even though she did get food from the humans who represented her in our society. They just let her be, the entire neighborhood knew she was simply not friendly toward people. That was until she met me. For some reason she practically jumped into my arms after I pet her, and everyone just stood there in awe.

I was allowed to take her home, and she moved in quickly. Our connection grew quickly, when I was home she had to know where I was at all times and even slept on the bed curled up with me. She was 10 years old when I got her, and we were inseparable. I believe she had just chosen me, and because of that she she did not want me to leave her. Heather had her one litter of kitten in my bed while I was sleeping, a very high display of trust.

The second time I adopted was from a rescue hone for feral cats. I went in, not sure who to pick as there were some kittens and more social cats. I saw Ghost, he was hiding in a darkened corner afraid to come out. He had a friend hiding with him, my friend was with me too, so we each picked one and took them home.

They both hid under the bed for the first two weeks, we put the litter box and food next to it and let them take their time. When they finally came out they became attached to us almost immediately. Ghost would follow less than three feet from me whenever we went outside, he didn't even notice I had put a leash on him. Ghost rarely left my sight, not out of fear, but because he knew he was safe with me close.

Now I have Pepper, who is constantly testing how much I am willing to do for her, as well as testing her boundaries. I never strike a cat, rarely raise my voice unless they are in danger. Yet sometimes she thinks she is in trouble and acts guilty even when it's beyond her control. I have to pet her, let her know she is a good cat, all the time. She is getting the message, and often asks me for help if she is unsure now, her voice is quiet but her cues are becoming clear.

Pepper never gets angry, and her curiosity seems to be growing fast, as if someone did not allow her to explore much. A big world awaits her when she is ready, and she will always have lots of loving.

The reasons for this stark difference in the amount of affection is because they have been upset, moved, tossed aside, caught, often abused, and sometimes stuck in a cage for long periods of time. They do not deserve this treatment, but they begin to think they earned it. The adopters' job is to show them that they are good kitties, and that they deserve more.

Once they learn this they become grateful for their new human representatives. So grateful that they don't want to ever leave our sides. Not that raising a cat is less valuable, just that there is no reason to pass over an older one who has been through a lot. Their personalities are not ruined by the bad experiences, and when they are mended their behavior always improves.

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