Happily Homed: Bok Choy
When we got a call about a batch of cats from one of our shelter partners last spring, one black kitty stood out who really needed some TLC, and we knew we wanted to help.
We originally thought that Bok Choy was about 1-year-old, and we knew that he had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and needed medical attention on one of his legs. What we didn’t know was that he was actually much older, that he needed extensive dental work, and that his leg was in worse shape than we realized.
Bok Choy came to us in April 2023 as a stressed cat who wasn’t a real big fan of people yet. He was so scared that he growled and lunged from inside his kennel, escaped, and our medical team had to use a net to catch him. Anesthesia was the only option just to get through his initial exam.
We were anticipating doing an FHO surgery (also known as a Femoral Head Ostectomy, which would remove part of the femur and restore mobility) and physical therapy to repair damage to his leg, of which we still don’t know the cause of his injury. Once he was under anesthesia, we realized this would not be viable for his condition. Considering his behavior around people and the extent of his medical issues, we considered all options.
We settled on taking his leg to remove the pain, hoping it would improve his outlook. While he was still under from the exam, our veterinarian performed an amputation, and he recovered well. While during X-rays, we also discovered a small metal foreign object in his abdomen, which we suspect is a BB gun pellet. It didn’t seem to be affecting him, so we let it be and planned to inform the adopter to bring it up with their vet.
Bok Choy was becoming very good at handing us surprises!
Because Bok Choy needed an experienced person to guide him through recovery and socialization, he went home with one of our shelter employees, who served as a foster.
“It took him a while in foster to trust me, but he never showed any aggressive behavior,” this staff member said. It seemed he was the type of cat who just didn’t thrive in a shelter environment and needed a calm, quiet home to settle into.
A couple weeks later, Bok Choy received his much-needed dental procedure, complete with multiple extractions. Healing took a bit longer than normal, likely due to the extent of the condition of his mouth and his FIV+ status.
In the meantime, we worked on his fearfulness, and he quickly went from cautious eating to screaming for his dinner. He began to show that with a little patience, he had a very sweet demeanor. His overall behavior and physical condition was improving, but accepting love from a human proved a harder challenge, as he still flinched when from attempts at being pet.
He accepted a few neck scratches while eating his beloved wet food, but never sought pets out on his own. Finally, after two months, he showed interest in attention and jumped on our staff member’s lap. Trust had been established!
Bok Choy did great around other cats, was becoming more adoptable every day, and came back to the shelter after another couple months. This time, he aced his exam and did not even need sedation!
After just a few days on the adoption floor, Bok Choy got lucky. Jordan came to the shelter for our special Clear the Shelters event not necessarily looking to adopt, but open to it for the right cat. “I was curious about the cats at the shelter and came across [him], read his story and fell in love immediately,” Jordan recalls. “I noticed he wasn’t being visited, so I spent a lot of time with him. He kept to himself, but I knew there was a sweet boy under that anxiety.”
Bok Choy was renamed Captain and adjusted well to his new home. He still hangs out under the bed, but comes out right away for food and spends time with the other cats in the home on occasion. Jordan says Captain loves being scratched under the chin, is very sweet and well behaved. And living life with only three legs has proved no issue, as he even navigates the stairs with ease!
Jordan’s favorite thing about Captain is his meow. “It’s adorable,” she says. “It doesn’t happen often, usually when he’s about to be fed. It’s like a little treat when you get to hear it.”
“I’m so unbelievably happy to have taken Captain in,” Jordan says. “He’s made an amazing addition to my life and I believe both of us needed each other. Although he’s still getting comfortable and I’m getting used to being a cat owner (I’ve only owned dogs and reptiles), we are adjusting together and creating a sweet bond together! He’s precious.”
We thank Jordan for taking a chance on a cat who was being overlooked. His story proves that despite how rough he may have had it in a prior life, things can really turn around with the right attention and care.
Have you adopted from CCS in the past? We’d love to hear how it’s going! Send us your adoption success stories (and photos!) to be featured in our #adoptionupdate series on social media or on our website.
Feel compelled by our work and want to help more cats in need find loving homes? Please send us a financial gift to provide life-saving medical care and adoption services to cats like Bok Choy. Donations can be made online HERE (and all funds received from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5, 2023, count for our Colorado Gives Day fundraising goal, with extra opportunities for matching incentive funds. We appreciate your support!