May 18, 2017

Parker’s Path: How One Frightened Kitten Learned to Trust

Parker

“I'm happy to say that Parker has decided to adopt us!” –Andrew T. of Brooklyn, NY

Too many kittens begin their lives on the streets. Whether they were abandoned or born homeless, the struggles of survival—especially in a city like New York—are difficult at such a young, vulnerable stage in life. It is often through the work of Good Samaritans that many kittens are taken off the streets, brought into rescues and given a second chance at life. In early December 2016, three-month-old Parker became one of these fortunate kittens.

Parker was brought into the ASPCA after being found as a stray. The veterinary team at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) determined that Parker was healthy, and after giving him the basic care necessary for a kitten his age, he was able to move on to the ASPCA Adoption Center. Though health wasn’t a concern for him, it was clear that Parker’s lack of experience with humans had left him fearful and incredibly shy.

In the days following his arrival at the Adoption Center, everyone hoped that they could get the young kitty to come out of his shell. Team members at the Adoption Center worked to make Parker comfortable and more relaxed around humans. Slowly he began to show a playful side­—a positive sign, and an indication of developing trust. Though they knew that Parker’s transition from frightened stray to confident cat would require time and patience, no one doubted that he would soon find the perfect home.

Fortunately, everyone’s assumptions were proven to be correct when Andrew T. and his partner, Christine, came into the Adoption Center toward the end of December. The couple had recently decided to share their home with a new furry friend after losing their cat of twelve years, Bastille. Upon first meeting Parker, Andrew and Christine understood that the handsome young kitty was timid and untrusting, but this didn’t deter them. They decided to take a chance on Parker, and set forth to give him the patience and love he needed to become a beloved pet. 

Parker in his pet parent's lap
Parker’s first time sitting in his pet parent’s lap.

However, after bringing Parker home, the couple became concerned since their new family member wouldn’t let anyone near him. The shock of a new environment had left Parker shaken. Andrew sought help from the team at the Adoption Center, who instructed him and Christine to give Parker some space for a few days (only providing him with a clean litter box and fresh food and water), and allow him to acclimate to their home on his own terms. In this time, Parker began to feel more comfortable in his new home. “He didn't seem to mind, and continued being himself, playing throughout the apartment or sleeping under the bed,” Andrew tells us.

It was through this method that Andrew was then able to get Parker to trust him little by little. Soon, Parker would nibble at food from Andrew’s hands before running away. Then, he began to show affection toward Andrew and Christine, allowing himself to be pet and loved. In these moments, Parker began to trust. Much to their surprise, he even began letting Andrew and Christine pick him up! 

Parker beign held by his pet parent and after a bath
Parker allowing his pet parent to pick him up and hold him (left). Parker’s first bath (right).

Andrew tells us that eating, playing and being pet are some of Parker’s favorite activities now. As the sensitive kitty continues to mature, he has become vocal and extremely affectionate. “His favorite new spot to sleep seems to be on Christine's shoulders, which is a far cry from where he was,” Andrew says.

Parker’s progress is truly heartwarming, and shows just how far any animal can come when they are simply given a chance to love and be loved.