Paws Cause, a small spay/neuter/rescue group on California's Central Coast, was working at an apartment complex when they discovered a gorgeous brown tabby named Holly. It would take months to do right by this girl who had been treated poorly by her people.
As any savvy rescuer knows, large apartment complexes with inexpensive rent almost always house stray cats both feral and tame. That's because residents move out and leave unaltered pets behind.
Paws Cause negotiated a deal with the apartment managers who were weary of the problem: the organization would be allowed to establish a discreet feeding station to give the cats a chance, and they would trap and fix all the cats they could.
Wild felines would be returned to the feeding station after spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, and those that could be placed in loving homes or barns would be rescued. Lives would be saved, suffering would be prevented, and the population of cats would diminish humanely over time.
Volunteers spotted Holly early on in their months of work at the complex. In fact, the young female was trapped in one of the first nights of cat round up. Paws Cause had gone door-to-door with flyers to tell residents about the spay/neuter project and advise owners to keep their cats indoors on trapping nights and/or make sure their cats had collars. Holly was captured along with the homeless kitties, so off she went to the clinic.
As the skinny brown tabby recuperated overnight after her spay surgery, the Paws Cause trapping team realized she was tame and sweet and craving affection. They decided the fair thing to do was return her to the apartments where she probably had a home. Indeed, as the months passed, they figured out where Holly lived by noticing her coming and going from an open window.
Then one day, Holly's apartment home was empty--the people had moved out. And there she was, left behind. The Paws Cause volunteers were crushed, and they determined that Holly would never be neglected or abandoned again. They approached her with patience, and the cat allowed herself to be rescued.
Holly went to a foster home with experienced cat lovers. That was a lucky break, because Holly required skilled behavioral help! Everyone agreed that she had probably been abused, as she would lash out and bite when feeling threatened. Her foster mom recalled she would nip at her ankles if she walked too close, act aggressive with the other household kitties and freak out at the sight of a broom or mop. Poor girl.
Fortunately the couple knew just what to do for her. They would shout a loud "ouch" if Holly bit, then walk away and ignore her. They frequently took Holly into a room by herself--to play with her and give her an outlet for her energy while reassuring her with cuddles. And when she was calm around the rest of the family, they petted her and gave her positive feedback.
Gradually Holly settled down, and her foster parents decided she should stay with them. The pretty tabby had been through quite enough trauma in her short life and the couple were not confident she would do well in another home. Though Holly has an independent streak still, she now plays, hunts and even sleeps with the other felines. And her new parents certainly don't mind giving Holly all the affection she needs and deserves.