Some cats are born with a special sweetness about them. They don’t hiss, fight or bite. They don’t spitefully urinate on the wall. They're often overlooked because they might be shy or reserved, but it doesn’t mean there doesn’t beat the heart of a lion within their chest. Biscotti, who was literally thrown into a hot metal dumpster, burned and left to die when he was barely 3 weeks old, is one of those specially sweet creatures. Though painfully shy, since Biscotti arrived with his surrogate mother Mocha and her kittens Pizzelle, Lyndsay and Nanny last fall, he has slowly undergone a transformation.
Some cats are born with a special sweetness about them. They don’t hiss, fight or bite. They don’t spitefully urinate on the wall. They're often overlooked because they might be shy or reserved, but it doesn’t mean there doesn’t beat the heart of a lion within their chest.
Biscotti, who was literally thrown into a hot metal dumpster, burned and left to die when he was barely 3 weeks old, is one of those specially sweet creatures. Though painfully shy, since Biscotti arrived with his surrogate mother Mocha and her kittens Pizzelle, Lyndsay and Nanny last fall, he has slowly undergone a transformation.
©2013 Betsy Merchant. First glimpse of Biscotti right after rescue out of a dumpster.
Biscotti tries to overcome his fear. I don’t know what sort of Hell he suffered before he was thrown away, but it must have been very bad. The little tuxedo is not shy of being petted, in fact he enjoys it. Since he’s not “head shy” I don’t think he was hit, but something caused him to turn inward and retreat any time he is stressed. He hides away and only after a long time will he come out and explore the strangers in his room. If I pick him up around strangers, he’ll tighten himself into a ball. I can put him on anyone’s lap and he will stay in his little ball shape with a very sad look on his face.
His fragile nature is a magnet for compassionate people. Everyone feels badly for him and they all feel the desire to help him overcome his fear, but in the end they always opt for the more social cat to adopt. I don’t blame them, but I see what they don’t. He’s a little lion.
©2013 Foster Mama. Biscotti with his new mom, Mocha and step-brother Pizzelle.
When it’s just me in the room, Biscotti will come over to me, tail up in the air, ready to sit on my chest and get petted. If the Clementines weren’t so demanding of my lap-space, he’d be right there, too, but he’s too shy to push the others away to get what he wants. I try to give all of them some of my time and sooner or later Biscotti makes his way up on my lap where he’ll get as much love as he wants.
Over the months he’s really come out of his shell. I know he’ll be a great companion, but whoever adopts him will have to have faith that what I’ve seen, they will see, too. It’s just there’s no guarantee WHEN it will happen and the home has to be the right one. It has to be a CALM home. No little screaming kids. No late night parties. He needs a stable environment with people who understand cats and understand they have a diamond in the rough. The payoff won’t be instant gratification, it will be in knowing they had a hand in helping this poor creature find his confidence and in doing so, he’ll find his happiness and they will have an amazing companion in return.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Biscotti at 8 months old looking out into the woods of western Connecticut, a million miles away from the dumpster in Georgia where he was abandoned.
Just a few days after Blossom and Buttercup were adopted, I got a call from Mary Lou. She was in love with Biscotti’s photos on Petfinder and wanted to meet him right away. We had a long chat and she sounded great, but hadn’t even filled out an adoption application. I had a very good feeling about her, but was a bit worried there would be something in the application that would prevent me from moving forward.
I’m usually very slow processing applications. I HATE to deal with them. I am very sorry to anyone who has adopted from us or tried to. I do the best I can but having to have confrontations and talk to strangers is not my idea of a good time. One day I’ll have volunteers help me with this but right now I’m on my own.
©2013 Betsy Merchant (inset) and ©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. A fragile kitten grows into a handsome, loving young adult.
In this case, because I had a good feeling and the application was good, the very next day Sam and I did the home visit and right after that they came over here to meet Biscotti. It went well, but as expected, the Clementines were all over the couple and I knew it would be hard to overlook them for the shy, motionless cat who was sitting under the cat tree.
I put Biscotti in Mary Lou’s lap. He looked very forlorn but sat there quietly as Mary Lou cooed over him. Her husband smiled at him but couldn’t help but be charmed by Mango. I didn’t push the subject, giving them plenty of time to consider their options. I was told that there was another rescue pressuring them to take THEIR cat. I’d heard of those tactics before, saying someone else wanted the cat and if they didn’t act fast they’d lose out. I never do that. If it’s meant to be, it is. I am not in the “business” of moving cats into okay homes. This is non-negotiable for me and I was rather disgusted that another rescue was pushing by constantly calling and texting Mary Lou.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Biscotti often poses for the camera making getting a good photo of him rather easy.
They had to think about it and I thought maybe it wasn’t going to happen but the next day I got a call that surprised me. Mary Lou had an allergic reaction while she was here. Her mom is allergic but she didn’t think she was. She was concerned about adopting ANY cat if it meant falling in love with it, then having to give it back. I was, too. She didn’t know what to do about it so I suggested she foster Biscotti for two weeks. If he made her sick, then I’d take him right back. If he didn’t and it was a match, then we’d do the adoption. She liked the idea so a few days later I brought Biscotti to her home.
I knew Biscotti would be terrified so I brought a hooded cat bed that smelled like him with me. Mary Lou and I got everything set up in his new room, which was a very sunny living room with large windows and so very well appointed. I looked for hiding places and was glad to see we only really had to change one thing and the rest of the space was clear. My hope was that I’d guide Biscotti into the cat bed and he’d use that for his safe place until he felt he could explore his new home.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Who wants to kiss that face? I do!
I’m really glad I brought the bed because that’s right where he went when I took him out of his cat carrier. He curled up in the bed, glad to be in the dark. I petted him and he loosened up a bit, but I knew he was very scared. I didn’t know if being the only pet in the family would be good or bad for him. My hope was that with the attention of a loving family focused on him that he would shine, but there was a long way to go before that happened.
I anxiously waited for news on how he was doing and feared he’d stop eating and completely fall apart. But Biscotti’s lion-heart rose to the challenge. He ate that first night and used his litter pan. After a few days he was coming out of his hiding places to get pets and get to know his new family. I heard they are all madly in love with him and look forward to him coming out of his shell more, but he’s already playing and I take that as a very good sign.
©2014 Mary Lou H. Biscotti under cover in his new foster home.
With adoptions, nothing is ever certain. It’ll be another 10 days before the foster agreement comes to an end and Mary Lou and her family have to decide. Even if Biscotti has to come back, he will be that much stronger and ready to take on more. He’s a brave little fellow and no matter what, I will always have his back.
…and then the phone rang again. It was Mary Lou. “I think I'm allergic to Biscotti.”
…to be continued…