When a university student named Paul decided to get a pet, he knew that a cat would be the perfect choice.
“I wanted a cat because cats are generally low maintenance pets that also provide a lot of emotional support and amusement, which is especially helpful in the stressful environment of a university,” he explained to iHeartCats.
So, he took a trip to the shelter, intending to adopt a spunky, wide-eyed kitten. But as he walked around looking into the cages of homeless felines, he was struck with a realization.
“I realized that kittens require a lot more attention than older cats do, and potentially get into a lot more trouble!” Paul said. “As a student, I spend a lot of time outside the apartment, so I need to be able to trust the cat to stay home unsupervised for long stretches of the day.”
As he continued to think about his lifestyle and the needs of his future companion, he decided that “An older cat that was already litter box trained became ideal.”
When he met Cleo, a 12-year-old gray and white cat with soulful green eyes, he knew she was special. Then, when he heard her background story, it really sealed the deal.
“She was declawed on all four paws by her previous owner, who also introduced a new cat into her household, creating a lot of stress,” Paul said.
Soon after, a new human baby came to live at the house, too. With all the drastic changes, the confused kitty was beside herself. Without her claws, Cleo felt threatened and defenseless, and the anxiety finally took its toll.
“Cleo had become so stressed that she developed a urinary tract infection and eventually snapped and bit her owner, which is why she ended up at the shelter,” Paul told us. “I decided Cleo deserved a proper home where she can live peacefully and not be bothered by her lack of claws as much.”
Now, this sweet senior is enjoying her golden years with Paul and his roommates, Ben and Dennis. Between the three of them, she gets plenty of attention, but is still able to relax in a quiet environment with no children or other pets.
“At first she was very shy and reserved, but she has come to be very affectionate with me, Ben and Dennis,” Paul said of his cat. “Cleo has become increasingly social around strangers in the apartment and even likes to play with her fishing toy if they swing it around for her.”
Paul and his roommates continue to do everything they can to make life as comfortable as possible for their new companion, and they’ve enjoyed watching her settle into her new surroundings.
“There aren’t any other pets in the apartment, and I don’t plan on getting any other animals since she is declawed,” Paul said. “She also used to be uncertain when jumping up onto beds and the sofa, which is understandable because she does not have claws, but she seems to have gained a lot of confidence since I brought her home.”
Now that she’s come out of her shell, Cleo has special relationships with all three of the humans she lives with, and her wonderful quirks are beginning to show.
“I tend to feed her in the morning, so she tries to wake me up to feed her,” Paul explained. “At night she bothers Dennis because he generally feeds her in the evening. When she’s bored or nervous, she goes to Ben because he is good at calming her and has a more central room that is better for scoping out her situation.”
She also knocks on closed doors when she wants to enter, pawing at them until someone opens it and invites her in! All in all, Cleo seems to have settled perfectly into her new forever home, and her human friends are thrilled to have her.
“I think she is in a much healthier place now than when she was with her previous owner,” Paul told iHeartCats.
We’re so glad that Paul gave Cleo a second chance, and that he, Ben, and Dennis opened their hearts and home to her! Although she has some years behind her, this senior cat still has a lot of love to give!
Special thanks to Paul for letting us share this wonderful rescue story.