Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cats Get Scared in the Shelter - Don't Be Afraid to Adopt Them #FoodShelterLove

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love Program, but Pawsitively Pets only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Some cats do not do well in shelter settings. They are scared, confused, and would really just like to go home. Being a scared cat in a shelter is not a good advantage. These cats may not "show" well and can have a more difficult time finding a forever home. Who can blame them for being scared? I sure can't.


Imagine yourself as a shelter cat for just a few minutes. 

You've lived a good life with your family for years and then the next day, you're being carted off to some strange place in a crate. And worst of all - your family just leaves you there. 

Days, weeks, even months go by and you still don't know what's going on. You're kept in a cage and have all the essentials that you need, but you're still scared and want to go home. Strange people that you don't know come to look in your cage, but you hiss at them because you're frightened. 

The people who feed you start talking about how they think you'll never go home because you aren't friendly. All you really want is for someone to get you out of this scary place. 

I adopted my cat a few months ago from a family member. I am glad that she did not have to go through the shelter system, because I have a feeling that she would not have done well in that setting. 


For the first few days that she came to my home, Callie was scared and didn't know what was going on. She hissed at us and hid behind the couch. It only took her a short time to adjust to living in her new home. Some cats take longer to adjust, but it's about having patience and giving them the space that they need. 

I once helped my father adopt a cat. He needed a mouser for his barn and our local shelter had a feral barn cat program. It took the shelter staff close to 30 minutes just to put her in a carrier for me to take home to my dad. She was really wild. And she had apparently been that way since she arrived at the shelter more than a month earlier. 

It took several months, but in the end she became a friendly and lovable cat. She no longer hid from us, and came out for attention. She'd even plop over for us to rub her belly. 


All she needed was patience, someone she could trust, and a little bit of love. And the same is true for so many other "scared" shelter cats and kittens. 

I am not saying that this type of cat is a good adoption choice for everyone, but I don't think they should be overlooked as often as they are. Given a chance, the scared shelter cat can make a wonderful family pet. All they need is a chance


Being in a stressful situation can certainly take its toll on a cat's health. That's why it's important they eat healthy food during their stay at the shelter and that's where Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love® Program comes in. 

For adult cats, Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Optimal Care® Original cat food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition.

Hill's® Science Diet® Kitten Healthy Development Original cat food provides precisely balanced, easy-to-digest nutrition for growing kittens. 



The goal of the Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love® Program is simple: to provide dogs and cats with superior nutrition that will make them healthier, happier and more adoptable as they wait for their forever home. Since 2002, the Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love® program has donated over $280 million worth of Science Diet brand foods to nearly 1,000 animal shelters, helping over 8 million pets find a new home…and counting. Healthy pets are more adoptable pets and all pets deserve proper, balanced nutrition. 

The ultimate goal of the program is to help pets find their forever homes. Hill's believes that when you adopt, you provide a shelter pet with another chance at finding love. 

You can use the Hill's Find a Shelter Tool to locate a Hill's Food, Shelter & Love partner in your area. 

18 comments:

  1. John Lennon was right: all you need is love... and some patience.... I so agree the most of the cats (and dogs) look not happy... who would like to smile behind bars... but if we look close and we look behind that what we see we will discover the "real" cat or dog and we feel it if this kitty will become our soulmate :o)
    easy rider

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  2. Aw you are so right!! And who wouldn't be scared in a situation like that? Poor things.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  3. 2 of my kitties were is the shelter for 2 years because they were scared and didn't act friendly to potential adopters. They are very happy in their forever home now.

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    1. Well, I sure am glad that you gave them a chance!

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  4. Breaks my heart - Callie is so fortunate to have you :)

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  5. What a great post! I was one of those scared shelter cats. It’s taken years for my peeps to be able to pet me. I’m glad they took me home cos someone else might not have been so patient. They may have had me—shudder—PTS.

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    1. Thank you CK! I did think of you too while writing this, along with a few other blogging friends.

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  6. Mom always feels sorry for shelter cats since they tend to be solitary animals and are often thrust in with a bunch of strange cats. It is not easy. She usually looks for one like our Sophie who seems to be getting picked on and takes that one home.

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    1. I think that's nice of your Mom. I don't think everyone realizes that some cats are just not themselves in that kind of a situation.

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  7. I lived at the shelter for 9 months and it is not always fun.

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  8. You are so right, Ann. We see this all the time at our shelter. So many unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells at the shelter ... so overwhelming and scary for kitties. Luckily, it's a no-kill shelter, so the cats get time to adjust. But still, many just do not show well. They just need a chance at love.

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    1. I know I've read a few stories of cats over there that have been waiting a long time. I'm glad it's no-kill and that they get all the time they need to adjust. It just takes time!

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  9. During kitten season, even friendly and perfect cats can languish in the shelter system. I just wrote up a post about a guy like that today. He's a flame point Siamese with perfect cat-to-cat manners, but he's just waiting and waiting as the kittens fly out the door. Breaks my heart.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  10. The stories make me think of Conrad, who we just lost. He hid in the back of the cage at the shelter, but I've always loved the underdog (cat) so we chose him. He had been a stray so the adjustment period was long, but we had 16 wonderful years with him.

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    1. Aw - so sorry to hear about Conrad... he was a sweet boy.

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    2. Thank you, Ann. He had a good long life, and fought right until the end, but his old frail body finally gave out on him.

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  11. I couldn't imagine how terrified I'd be in their situation - it's such a scary & loud environment with a bunch of strange people and animals all around. When I've gone to shelters and noticed a gregarious cat that's super friendly I almost thing of them as the anomaly - most of the others are much more reserved yet they really come out of their shell in a home environment.

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  12. I agree. Just like people, some cats are more easily stressed than others. Several of my cats (originally strays) would have never made it in shelters - they would have been the ones lashing out out of fear. This a great post and I hope it will help others be more open to giving some of these cats a chance.

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Thank you for your comments!

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