Why would someone return two 18-year-old bonded cats only five hours after adopting them from a shelter? The idea of such a quick turnaround rightly shocked people, purrticularly for two adorable senior cats. But the story has a happy ending after the outrage fueled thousands of shares on social media.
It reminds us of cats returning from being “too affectionate,” which also outraged people. Fortunately, the absurdity of it all led to more awareness for the cats, the shelters, and loving furever homes where the cats were appreciated for their love bug ways.
This story is a great reminder that cats need time to adjust to a new home, new people, and resident pets. Introducing new pets to one another takes planning, with a slow introduction via the other side of a closed door often being the best idea for a while. It’s rare that new pets arrive, and everyone behaves like they’ve known each other their whole lives, but it does happen once in a Blue Moon. Nevertheless, it’s best to assume the introductions will be a slow process that could take much longer than you think.
Rusty and Tigger’s Whiplash Return to the Shelter
Sadly, Rusty and Tigger wound up at a Florida shelter when their owner passed away. The two had lived together since they were kittens and were in good overall health. Right away, the shelter recognized how fragile they were at their advanced ages and placed them in foster care. In general, finding a home for senior kitties is more challenging, what with all the cute kittens jumping around. But adult cats can be exactly right for quiet homes where adults might feel overwhelmed by wild and crazy kittens.
The Cats Met the Family Dog Right Away
Surely, if someone met Rusty and Tigger, they would be won over by their charms? That’s just what happened when their foster mom took them to an adoption event. But then, things quickly went south due to a family dog. These cats hadn’t been around dogs, so they were scared to death. Should the person have assumed this was likely to happen without a gradual introduction? Yes.
“We posted them on social media and shared their story to try to get them adopted from foster care, but sadly they had no adoption interest. Their foster mom took them to an adoption event on Sunday, and they were adopted together! At their new home, they were immediately introduced to the adopter’s dog and were understandably terrified, as they had not been around dogs before and hadn’t had a chance to get used to their new home. They were returned to the shelter within hours of being adopted on Sunday due to not liking the dog,” Orange County Animal Services shared.
Given the cat’s fear, the person who adopted them likely feared the cats would be severely traumatized. So, they returned them to the shelter. Ok, that’s a little more understandable now, but as the shelter says, it may have worked out with a planned, gradual introduction. It’s required, purrticularly for two senior cats who had already faced the trauma of losing their human. We wonder how this wasn’t discussed at the adoption, or maybe it was?
“Rusty and Tigger are friendly, social, and affectionate. They enjoy being brushed, are laid back, and enjoy each other’s company. They did come from a home with other cats. They have not been around dogs, but we would recommend a slow and proper introduction if going to a home with dogs,” they added.
Rusty and Tigger on TikTok
The post went viral on Facebook, and a video of them on TikTok similarly made waves. Their story even appeared on Yahoo! and Pet Helpful. Photographer Albert Harris, on the communications team for the shelter, shared a TikTok of the two cuties and explained the situation.
The video adds some details about why the adopter returned the cats, with the first reason being completely different from the cats’ fear of the family dog. Whatever the case, the cats definitely needed waaay more time to adjust.
“They decided to give up on them without giving them any time to adjust,” says Harris. “Besties, they are now at our shelter confused.”
Harris suggests that they may have had an unrealistic idea things would work out magically, but the real world is a whole other place.
Video via TikTok/aharrisphot
A Happy Ending for The Senior Duo
Rusty and Tigger had a lot of changes to deal with in a short time. But thanks to their story’s attention, they won’t have to bounce around any longer. Harris shared an update showing the two found a home together just hours after the first post. Finally, they can settle down into a new loving home and enjoy their golden years.
Video via TikTok/aharrisphot
To see more about how to introduce pets for the first time, here’s a look back at the very first time baby Marmalade met Cole in 2013. As you can see, it was a slow introduction in the crack under a closed door.