In early July, two kittens arrived at the foster home of Hoa, a volunteer for Waggytail Rescue. Unagi and Wasabi were ten-week-old tortoiseshell sisters, and they needed to be socialized to get used to humans.
Hoa created welcome posts on her Instagram for the two kittens. In Wasabi’s pictures, the kitten backed away from Hoa’s hand, hissing as she tried to pet her. On Unagi’s welcome post, Hoa said that Unagi was “not spicy at all.” She said:
“She’s still hissing here and there every time her sister, Wasabi, hisses at us, but then changes her mind a few seconds later and starts purring.”
Treats and trust
Although both kittens needed some work, Wasabi clearly had a longer way to go before she would be able to trust humans.
Sometimes the best way to a kitten’s heart is through her stomach. Hoa tried to gain Wasabi’s trust with a treat. At first, Wasabi hid behind a scratching post and let Hoa bring the treat to her, but after a few attempts, she came out from her hiding place to go after the food herself.
Over the next few days, Wasabi started to eat right out of Hoa’s hand. She let Hoa pet her and even started to enjoy it.
After about a week, the kitten had already come very far. Her foster mom was happy and proud of Wasabi’s progress, since she was well on her way to becoming a kitten who could thrive in a forever home. Hoa said:
“Socialization saves lives!”
In another week, Wasabi’s sister Unagi was adopted. She hadn’t needed as much training, so she was already off to her perfect forever home. Wasabi still had some work to do.
Hoa expressed how difficult it was to socialize Wasabi. She sometimes felt unmotivated because she couldn’t remember how far they had gotten, but it helped to look back on past experiences and realize how much Wasabi had transformed. Hoa said:
“Wasabi is still running away and hissing at me but much less than two weeks ago. Our relationship has improved a lot, judging by the fact that she is accepting pets willingly and even purring!”
She recognized that Wasabi had made a lot of progress, and she hoped that the kitten would be ready for adoption soon.
Her wish came true. Wasabi was ready to be adopted and officially made available on July 20th. Just ten days later, she had been adopted and was ready to leave her foster home. Parting with the kitten was bittersweet for Hoa. She said:
“If we didn’t already have 5 resident cats, Wasabi would most likely be a foster fail. That’s how special she is.”
Although it means that Wasabi has to go, Hoa is so happy that she was able to help her learn to trust humans. Wasabi has turned from spicy to sweet. She loves treats now, and she loves to be petted, and she will get all of that and more in her new home.