Help! I am desperate to find a home for Felipe and since you give such good advice, I figured it is worth asking. We have a new baby in the house with asthma, and we need to provide a pet-dander-free environment. I placed an ad at my work and he wouldn’t even come out to see the folks who were interested in seeing him. How in the world am I going to give him away if people can’t see him? Am I destined to keep him forever? It would probably be easier to give the baby away! Just kidding.
Felipe is a blue-grey Russian. He is EXTREMELY shy, a “fraidy cat.” He is very reserved with regard to human contact, but can be petted under specific circumstances. He cannot tolerate dogs and cannot be in a home with dogs. He much prefers a quiet environment, will spook and run from sudden noises. Once he is adapted to his environment, he becomes curious, explores, entertains himself with cat games: dashing under carpets and sheets, jumping on window sills and staring at the outdoors, capturing and toying with insects, playing with string, exploring high places and hiding. Felipe has a difficult time adjusting to new environments but can be made comfortable if instructions are followed. He is strictly a house cat and his front paws are declawed. He’s fixed and has his shots. Approximately 5 years old.
— The baby or the cat
I am very sorry to hear about your predicament. Selling babies is still illegal and it is difficult to place an animal, especially one with specific environmental needs. To be clear with all of my readers, I am not running a pet placement service, but I am making an exception for this situation. Adopting pets is a responsibility and sharing your home with animals takes commitment and compromise. An adult with allergies or asthma might be able to explore medication or other alternatives to coping with pets and dander, but keeping the baby “clean” and healthy is important. If your doctor recommends removing the cat, then you probably should.
While waiting to place Felipe, I suggest frequent vacuuming and restricting his access to the baby’s sleeping quarters and main play areas. If you don’t have one, buy or borrow a pet carrier. When you schedule a visit, corral the shy one into the carrier so he can be seen. Placing a blanket over the sides of the carrier will make it feel more like a hiding place for him. Put a favorite toy and some bedding in with him. You might try putting him in the carrier a few times for short periods so he gets used to it. This is not to force contact, but to allow the candidates to see that he is physically healthy. If the carrier totally freaks out the cat, you might try a room with fewer hiding places, like a dining room or kitchen.
They may not be able to assess Felipe’s personality, but you can check out the people. They should ask a lot of questions. Be honest. Don’t try to scare them away, but don’t sugar coat the sour puss. Ask questions, too, and be sure they are going to provide Felipe with the home he needs.
I am glad to hear that he is fixed. Spaying and neutering cats and dogs is essential to controlling the pet population. I don’t know if you had him de-clawed or if he came to you that way, but I want to mention that I am personally against this. Cats’ claws can cause a lot of damage to a home, but that is part of living with a cat. You can offer them alternatives such as posts and work to “train” them. Remember, removing their claws leaves them without a useful tool and a defense weapon. Imagine life without your thumbs.
If you, dear reader, are interested in adopting Felipe, please email me and I will forward your information to his current family. Below is contact information for local pet adoption services and the Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).
• SNAP: napus.org
• City of San Antonio Animal Care Services: sanantonio.gov/animalcare
• Southern Animal Rescue Association (SARA): sarasanctuary.org
• Humane Society SPCA of Bexar County:
Much love for the babies, cats, and pups,
Your Uncle Mat