Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
Posted Jun 14, 2015
Woody was a challenge when we got him. Challenge #1: He had been a stray for the first year of his life, so he was not properly socialized. Challenge #2: He spent the next year of his life in a home with several children and at least a couple of other cats. The family had just brought home a new kitten that Woody didn't get along with, so they gave Woody to us. Challenge #3: He wasn't fixed yet, at 2 years of age, so he had a little bit of a spraying issue. He peed in the cat carrier on the way home and hid behind the toilet for the first night. I wasn't sure he was going to make it as our new cat. But time and patience do wonders.
It took a lot of patience to draw him out; he was so fearful of being in a new home that for the first couple of months, he disappeared under the bed and behind the sofa quite often, and had the bad habit of urinating where he shouldn't. We calmly cleaned up the urine, sprayed it with an enzymatic stain and odor remover, and carried on.
There is a happy ending to this story. Our little scaredy cat learned to be quite brave, leaping up onto window sills like Superman and basically owning the place. He likes his independence (in fact, he sleeps for several hours at a time) but he will also seek me or my husband out whenever we come home, meowing all the way to the door. He gives us lots of leg rubs and kitty blinks. And chin scratches are his favorite thing ever. He still has slight issues spraying (we have yet to get him fixed but he is strictly an indoor cat). But a lot of those were solved by lowering the level of his kitty litter in the box (he tends to aim high).
So, if you are thinking of re-homing an older American shorthair, it is absolutely worth it. Just remember that they need love, patience and time to adjust, and you will have a sweet, loving, slightly demanding cat before you know it.