When I first went to the shelter where I got Nika, my cat, it was … kinda crazy. There were about a hundred cats running around loose in this building. My roommate has recently called it a “free-range shelter”, which is pretty apt.
The cats were all really chill, though. They all got along for the most part, and they seemed to be relatively happy. In contrast with the other shelter, where each cat is kept in a separate cage, and they all seem stressed and terrified, I would definitely say that free-range is the way to go.
When we walked in to the shelter, I basically just went to the center of the room and dropped to one knee. I was instantly swarmed with cats, all begging for attention. It was cat-lover heaven. One little black cat hopped up onto my shoulder, held on for dear life and never let go. We were there for over an hour, and she spent almost the entire time on my arm. I decided to adopt her. This is Nika.
I got Nika in January 2013. According to her papers, she got to the shelter in October 2008. She was a shelter cat for her entire life. Which has led to some interesting traits. For one thing, she’s got separation anxiety. If I leave the house for any length of time, she freaks out and cries. As soon as my roommate wakes up, Nika goes over and makes sure that she gets picked up and petted. When I’m home, Nika is almost always on my lap or next to me. At night, we sleep curled up under the blanket together, sharing a pillow, faces pressed together.
Now, when I got her, she came up to me. I probably would have looked for her and petted her, since I knew that I wanted a black cat anyway, but she was the one who hunted me down and was like “TAKE ME HOME I LOVE YOU!” And she’s so sweet and cuddly and loves to be held, I just assumed that she was a super friendly cat.
Apparently, that’s not quite true. Nika is one of the shyest cats that I have ever met. As soon as anyone else comes into the house, she runs away and hides. Myriad was here for a week, and Nika barely let her touch her at the end of that week. We had a bunch of people over, and one of them wanted to see her, so I had dragged her out from under my bed so that she could be petted. Later that night, I found her hiding in a cabinet, and I had to lure her out with treats.
Looking back on it, the fact of her extreme shyness really changes the way that I view our first meeting. Because either she was just so desperate to get out of that shelter that she put on her brave kitty face and sucked up to the first person through that door … or she saw me walk in and said to herself “This is the human for me,” and made sure that I felt the same way.
Personally, I like to think it’s the second one.