How Two Terrified Cats Found Their Big Personalities: Bali and Baffin’s Journey
Before we met them, Bali and Baffin had spent their days surrounded by over 90 other animals. They were found in an overcrowded home with dirty coats, scratches and wounds and dental disease, issues that are commonly seen in homes with an unmanageable number of animals. When the homeowner agreed to surrender the animals, the ASPCA Community Engagement, Adoption Center, Community Medicine and Animal Recovery Center (ARC) teams all joined together to safely remove the animals and provide them with the care they needed.
After three removal trips, 25 of the cats were brought to ARC to receive medical and behavioral treatment. Among the 25 cats, were Bali, a shorthaired black-and-white cat, and Baffin, a brown-and-white Siamese.
Bali, left, Baffin, right.
“Bali was very fearful in ARC, panicking and fleeing his kennel during his behavior evaluation,” explains Melissa Alejandro, Manager, Administration at ARC. “Similarly, Baffin was shut down and hid during his entire behavior evaluation. Both were undersocialized, and hissed and growled whenever anyone approached them.”
It was then that the Feline Behavior team realized that the two may benefit from living together and in a larger cat habitat, like they once had in their former home.
Living together helped the now-bonded pair feel a bit more comfortable and show some signs of social behavior, but what they really needed was some time in a foster home. Soon enough, after receiving dental surgeries, the duo was ready to go into foster care where they would learn what it was like to live in a home that was just their own.
Left, Bali and Baffin snuggling in their foster home. Right, Bali and Baffin hard at work as office assistants.
While in foster care, Bali and Baffin showed their true colors, exploring the house, sitting by their foster and even snuggling up in bed at night! Their amazing foster caregiver also worked with the boys on their behavior during their stay, helping them to become great pets and the best versions of themselves. With a quiet, consistent environment, Bali and Baffin blossomed.
Left, Bali. Middle, Bali and Baffin hanging out in their foster home. Right, Baffin.
After some time in their foster home, Bali and Baffin were ready to find a home to call their own.
The Right Match for Bali and Baffin
Christine H. had cats all of her life. When she and her husband Evan’s beloved cat Dewey passed away, their home felt empty. After taking the time they needed to mourn the loss of Dewey, they finally felt ready to open their hearts and home to some felines in need.
“We decided we would like to adopt a bonded pair of kitties,” explains Christine. “Since we have experience adopting lost and semi-feral kitties, we decided to prioritize a pair especially in need of a peaceful place where they could find their comfy, confident selves.”
Bali and Baffin cuddling close.
When submitting an application to adopt a pair of cats, Christine and Evan explained the type of home they had, their experience with cats and the type of cats they were looking for. And boy, did we have a pair of kitties perfect for them!
“Within the week the ASPCA contacted us to introduce Bali and Baffin,” Christine recalls. “We understood that Bali and Baffin had had difficult early lives and were still uncertain about humans. Their foster caregiver had provided a wonderful home, and she helped us transition them into ours.”
On December 30, 2020, Christine and Evan took home their new furry family members.
Settling into Their New Digs
When they first arrived home, Bali and Baffin were, as expected, nervous and scared. For many animals like Bali and Baffin, going to a new home with new people can be scary.
“For the first week, there were four frightened eyes under the couch.” Christine tells us, “They were too terrified even to eat.”
Bali, right, Baffin, left.
However, with time and some enticing feather toys, Bali and Baffin soon made their way out from under the couch. Baffin was the first to emerge as the feather toy was just too tempting, but Bali soon followed when he saw how much fun his best friend was having.
A month later, the two have shown their true—and big—personalities. So much so, that their names no longer reflected who they were. Instead, they were renamed Baker and Rainier “after two similarly lofty mountains.”
“Baker drops his green mouse at our feet when he wants to play,” Christine explains. “Rainier drags his favorite feather toy, wand and all, to chase in circles—along with his tail. During the day, catnaps in their beds are fine but at night, they curl atop their humans, which is warmer for everyone.”
Left, Bali, since renamed Baker, tired from playing with his favorite feather toy. Right, Baffin, since renamed Rainier, and his favorite toy.
These once terrified cats are now living happy and healthy lives in a loving home thanks to a team of people dedicated to their second chance.
“Patience, consistency, food and fun bring out the beautiful in almost every kitty as well as in us.” Christine reminds us.
This month, as we celebrate Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we encourage you to consider opening your heart or home to a cat or kitten in need either through adoption or fostering! Find more information at a shelter or rescue near you.