After 12 Years, Shelter Cat Finds A 'Forever Home'

 |  Oct 20th 2010  |   12 Contributions


Dona Corben prepares to leave the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City with Michelle the cat, who is going to her new home after living at the shelter for almost 12 years.

More than a decade ago, a tuxedo cat named Nikki was abandoned at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.

Abandonment of animals is a regular occurrence at shelters across the U.S., but the note attached to this cat's carrier made her special to Humane Society staff.

Sorry to drop her off like this. Her name is Nikki and shes about 7 mths old. Where I live I cant keep her she was getting beat on I hoped pray there is nothing wrong with her. I have no place to go so I brought her to you. Please make sure she finds a good home. Never been outside or around dogs, only children. Thank you.

Nikki, whom the staff renamed Michelle, had earned the unfortunate status of being the shelters longest adoptable resident. She had outlasted tens of thousands of animals that were adopted and has been at the shelter longer than many of its employees and volunteers.

After almost a dozen years, Michelle had gotten so used to visitors that she had stopped introducing herself to potential adopters. That worried the staff because first impressions often make the difference between finding a home and staying at the shelter.

A lot of people want that instant connection with an animal, said Humane Society spokeswoman Robin Rowland, and a cat that doesn't try to win potential adopters' attention is much less likely to find a home.

Michelle had been adopted once, in 2004. However, when the adopters had a baby she didn't bond with the new family member, so back to the Humane Society she went.

But last week, Michelle finally found her forever home.

While visiting the shelter in search of a feline companion, Dona Corben noticed the self-contained tuxedo cat. [Michelle] seemed quiet like me and delicate, she said.

Unlike most potential adopters, Corben wasnt wooed by the kittens. Theyre cute, but this is an old chick. I need an old cat, she said.

Corben is aware that Michelle may need time to settle into her new digs. [The shelter is] home and has been for a long time, she said.

To help Michelle adapt to her new surroundings, Corben traded the new cat bed shed bought for the one Michelle used at the Humane Society.

Corbens gentle approach assured Humane Society staff that she would be an ideal caretaker for Michelle.

For her part, Corben was grateful the original owner tried to help the cat. Somebody took a stance and couldnt give her a home, but found a shelter, she said.

Corben hadnt planned to rename Michelle, but shes thinking about doing so after reading the note. I think we might go back to calling her Nikki, she said.

Humane Society employees still wonder about the anonymous writer. It looked like the handwriting was probably a younger person, Rowland said. They wonder how old the writer is and what he or she is doing now.

Before Michelle left for her new home last week, the Humane Society told volunteers and employees so they could bid the feline farewell.

First of all, are you sitting down? Youll never believe this: Michelle is getting adopted, Rowland told volunteers.

Michelle is in great health and she never experienced a shortage of love during her long stay at the shelter. Before she left, employees took the time to wish her a bittersweet goodbye.

Hey Michelle, this is your big day, isnt it?, said shelter staffer Joyce Melton. You have a great life, will ya? You have a great life.

[Source: Kansas City Star]

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