Throughout her 19-month stay at the CASPCA, Pumpkin was the epitome of a haughty diva.
Woe be it unto any unwary visitor who approached her without her assent. But to the staff, volunteers and several regular visitors who came to know and love her, she was a most fascinating feline.
She arrived at the shelter in April 2016 as an overweight, flea-ridden stray with a bob tail. Baths and multiple flea med applications cleaned her up. Diet food was prescribed but never did much to change her pumpkin shape. She soon became available for adoption.
Like many strays, she was frightened at first. But she soon emerged from her cage to explore. It was then that her caregivers discovered her off-putting but endearing trait: she had to initiate contact. Anyone who casually tried to pet her was rebuffed with a loud “Meow” and a gentle swat. Understandably, this did not endear her to many potential adopters. But as her many admirers came to learn, she loved attention.
The proper way to interact with Pumpkin was to sit on the floor or on a chair near her. She would look suspiciously at any visitor but, if she were in the mood, would soon come forward and crawl onto a lap. She frequently purred and head-butted a petting hand. But soon it was time for some serious lap time without petting. She indicated this with her “Meow” and soon settled down, closing her eyes.
Months went by, but her behavior never changed. Consequently, visitors unwilling to follow her rules never considered her for adoption. But all her fans knew she was a great cat who would probably turn into a genuine lap cat if only someone would take her home.
Her fans grew in number. About a year ago, a UVa grad student couple began visiting her almost weekly. Pumpkin graced one or both of their laps more than half the time. Other regular visitors asked about her, but no one offered her a home.
Her fame and reputation spread within the shelter. A new employee in the CASPCA clinic met Pumpkin and fell in love with her. She took her home and reported back that Pumpkin settled right in. They even slept together on her second night in her new home. All Pumpkin’s fans knew this would happen. She didn’t disappoint!
This holiday season, please think of the thousands of animals we have saved and the thousands more we have yet to save.