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December 5, 2023

Happily Homed: Tiger Tim

Happily Homed: Tiger Tim

When we first met Tiger Tim in June 2022, we knew that he had some sensitivities over how and where he was touched. He came to us as a 6-year-old and an owner surrender. His intake notes mentioned a previous bite from being pet on his bad ear, an altercation with another cat, and a fear of strangers. Always up for a challenge, Tiger Tim became one of many cats we were determined to work with and rehabilitate.

At first, we tried putting him with other cats to see if his previous issue was an isolated incident. Turns out, he did not love other cats, and the mats of fur found proved he needed to be in his own room.

We’re not sure what kind of injury happened to his ear, but he did have a hematoma and scar tissue there and was prone to ear infections. Close monitoring and regular cleanings seemed to do the trick. Otherwise, he appeared to be generally healthy! This meant that most of our work with Tiger Tim would be to address his fears, make him more comfortable around people and improve his behavior.

The stress of being in a shelter often resulted in him losing tufts of his own fur due to overgrooming and some tummy troubles as evidenced by his litter box. The few times he made it out into the main hallway proved too much for him; he easily became overstimulated.

a tabby cat lays on a shelf and looks at a woman smiling at him

We made extra efforts to keep Tiger Tim away from others and gave him medication to combat his nerves with regular monitoring. We actually placed him in our on-site store, Meow Mart, for the extra space. He became quite skilled at hiding in the nooks and crannies of the store, meaning he was often literally overlooked by potential adopters. But he took well to ruling over his retail kingdom and served as chief toy and bed tester. One of our animal care techs, Kelly, took a special interest in Tiger Tim and made a point to sit in Meow Mart until he would greet her, offering gentle words of encouragement to build familiarity and trust. Eventually, she was able to pet him, and while he seemed uninterested in play, he was fascinated by the kitty flicks toy once she taught him how to bat it around.

By the New Year, it was time to send him home with a foster volunteer for a quieter environment where he could focus on getting the attention he needed. The first few weeks went well, and he displayed more confidence. Unfortunately, he eventually began nipping family members. Our foster team sent over some additional enrichment items to channel his energy into, including treat puzzles and interactive toys.

a tabby cat lays on a pile of cat mats

Shortly after, Tiger Tim again began pulling his own hair out. We suspect it was because other cats were in the house, even though he had no contact with them. His foster also reported that he had a new lumbering gait, and was starting to suspect arthritis. Back to the CCS shelter!

We rearranged some of the rooms to offer Tiger Tim his own space, and this was his first access to a catio — a game changer for him! This extra outside time, coupled with the socialization from his foster, made him more social than before. We still made extensive notes about his likes and dislikes for both the staff and potential adopters. It was important that everyone who interacted with him be versed in understanding his body language.

By this point, Kelly had refined enrichment efforts at the shelter, and Tiger Tim got special treatment and toys that he was learning to enjoy. This is when he discovered his love of little toy mice.

When Tiger Tim was able to relax, he was playful and sweet! He loved head scratches, string toys, laying on crinkly paper, squeezing himself into tunnels, batting around milk jug rings, wagging his tail while looking out the windows, and his signature move: laying on his back to show off his belly.

“He was really starting to come out of his shell by the time he got adopted,” Kelly recalled. “Every morning when I came in, he was sitting by his door waiting for me, staring out the window. He would happily greet me every time I walked into the room yelling ‘TIMMYYYYYY!!!!’ I often described him as lovingly derpy. Tiger Tim is kind of a strange, quirky dude and was super selective about the people he interacted with. I’m lucky I was one of those people! I would have taken him in a heartbeat if I didn’t have three other cats.”

a tabby cat lays on his back with his legs in the air

Eight months after Tiger Tim arrived at CCS, he finally found the right adopter. Colette actually came in wanting the cat that had been at the shelter the longest. “I really wanted to make a difference in a cat’s life,” she said. “I first noticed Tiger Tim’s profile online in October 2022. His sad eyes drew me in. I couldn’t entertain adopting him at the time, but fast forward 6 months, and I was ready. I was shocked to see Tiger Tim was still at Cat Care Society! I knew it was a sign we were meant to be together!”

Colette set up a room for him to get comfortable at first, which he stayed in for almost a month before venturing out further. He began slowly exploring his new spaces, and now is king of the castle. He now loves to roam and sit out on the deck with his new owner.

a photo collage of a tabby cat in his adoptive home

Tiger Tim hasn’t had any medical issues pop up, but Colette is still working with him on his past traumas, and her patience and respect for his quirks is working.

He now goes by the name Carl Bean. “He’s such a wonderful addition to my house,” Colette said. “Every week he opens up more and more. Last week his purr became so loud. He loves our morning routine, head scratches and sitting on the deck. Being picked up is still not his favorite, though.”

Colette said he is an absolute love, wearing his heart on his sleeve. He loves to talk, sit on the couch watching Seinfeld, and making Colette laugh by playing with his toy mice.

“I love that he is showing me so much love,” Colette said. “When I first adopted Tiger Tim, he didn’t get very close and never meowed. Now, he’s sleeping on my bed, snuggling close on the couch, and man is he a talker. Thank you, Cat Care Society, for taking such good care of Tiger Tim until I could come adopt him. I’m beyond blessed to have him in my life.”

We love a good happy ending, especially for the cats who need a little more time and love to fully open up. It’s something we see all too often in the shelter, and why we’re so proud to have great adopters like
Colette willing to put in the work to make even the most timid kitties feel safe.

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 Garfield and Big red. 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!


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