There are many reasons that animals develop behavior problems. Sometimes it has to do with the way they are raised or their life experiences. Sometimes it is simply their personality and genetic makeup. Or it's a combination of the two. Although solving problem behaviors can almost always be done, most people aren't up for the work. It isn't just that it takes determination and time, it can also be hard on the heart. No one wants to think their animals don't love them or to think they have to give up one them. Because of this, I love to hear a great story about a person and a pet who have jumped those hurtles and come out with flying colors.
Jewels in Denver, Colorado writes about a cat that was deemed a "brat" by the local animal shelter. Jewels wanted company in her new apartment and was hoping to find a cat that was less easy to adopt out, such as a black cat over five years old. She went to the shelter looking for just that, but didn't find any cats with whom she clicked.
She was about to leave defeated for the day, when one of the ladies working at the front desk stopped her and suggested she check out a young white cat. He was the opposite of what Jewels was thinking, but his behavior problems made him near impossible for adoption. Knowing that Jewels was a social worker with adults that had severe persistent mental disorders and had kept more difficult pets like ferrets, the woman thought she might mull it over.
The wild white cat had thus far bit a maintenance man, drawing blood and attacked a family dog, requiring emergency care. He had been adopted out and returned twice. He destroyed leather chairs, wouldn't use the litter box and it was obvious he was a hard case. The shelter folks fondly called him "a brat." He had no manners and likely had been weaned too young to learn a few from his mother.
Jewels played with him for a bit and although he raced around the room at a hundred miles an hour, he seemed friendly, stopping to give her quick "kisses" on the chin before racing off again. So she filled out the mounds of paper involved in protecting the shelter for any trouble the cat might cause and took him home.
She named him after Elric Melnibone, an albino ruler of a dark world in a 1960s series of fantasy novels. Then she stuck it out. He bit her, tore through the apartment, knocked everything off any flat service, woke her up at 2 am and generally drove her nuts. He was so handsome though, and Jewels didn't give up.
It took months of hard work for both of them, but Elric now walks on a leash. He is even up for a little cuddling now and then. He loves to go on trips, climbing into the crate whenever Jewels picks up her car keys. He even sleeps at the foot of the bed.
Everyone is happy, Jewels, Elric and the shelter, which published their story in their summer magazine. Jewels says that it just goes to show that it is worth it to give a brat a chance!
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