TINKERBELLE REMEMBERS: I Found Her

The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.

By Mollie Hunt 

  1. I found her.

In my last post, I told you how I came to want a therapy cat, but it was beginning to look like I’d never find that special one. Then one day I got the call to foster Tinkerbelle, a 10-year-old stray who had been brought into the shelter. She had URI and an eye infection, very common in shelter cats. She had also been starved for some time and needed to build back up to a normal kitty weight.

This is what I wrote in my “Book of Fosters”:

“Tuesday: Tinkerbelle is a tiny longhaired pixie of a cat. She’s 10 and the size of a kitten. Besides her URI, she wasn’t eating at the shelter. I found that she is a social eater* and particularly likes to eat on the computer table while I work. She is so loving. How can someone abandon a cat like her? But now she’ll be embarking on a sweet new journey with people who’ll love her forever.”

*Social eating is when a cat will only eat in the company of a sympathetic human, comforting and offering food. Social eaters are often found in shelter situations where the instinct to shut down may override the instinct to eat, but luckily a number of these anxious cats will respond to gentle encouragement. I learned how to quietly pet while offering food, and am still amazed at how effective a gentle touch can be.

Thursday: Tinkerbelle really is a social eater! I walk in the room and she immediately goes for her kibbles. When she’s done, she puts a paw on my shoulder and curls up in my lap. Yesterday she met my other cats with no problem.

Tink is quiet now.”

About Tinkerbelle: Tink served for four years as a registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat, visiting assisted living facilities and hospice patients. Tink is now retired and living the quiet life. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/

About Mollie Hunt: Mollie is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers’ Association. This year she won a CWA Muse Medallion for her 3-part blogpost series, “Life Stages”.

Like Lynley, Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She is a longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society where she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.

You can find Mollie on her Website: http://www.lecatts.wordpress.com/, her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt, and her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/.
Sign up for her Extremely Informal Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c0fOTn.

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3 thoughts on “TINKERBELLE REMEMBERS: I Found Her

  1. I never heard of a social eater. My cat Scooby whom I got from a shelter is exactly like described here. I thought there was just something odd about him, and it wasn’t really something other cats did. This was helpful to me. I learned by chance to pet him to get him to eat as well.

    1. I had never heard of it either until I began working with shelter cats who are often too stressed to eat as they would normally in a home. Good thing you were “listening” to what he was telling you.

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