If you stay in foster care long enough, I put you to work. That is how some of our canine-savvy felines have become official dog testers. I have always had one. Suddenly I have none.
Abigail came into foster care with her two nursing kittens in April 2000. Adoption opportunities never materialized for Abigail. She was a very sweet, schmoozy kitty but sit on your lap? Not a chance! People want lap cats and that she was not. But Abigail had other attributes. She stood on her hind legs for treats and took them with her front paws. She was awesome with dogs. I actually think she was a dog in a cat body. If a dog got the "Abigail Seal of Approval" which consisted of head bonks and rubbing on the dog, that dog was deemed safe to live with cats. If a dog did not get approval, the kitty world was spared a potential tragedy. Abigail was never harmed during dog testing. She simply would not come near a dog that was not good with cats. She was extremely accurate in her assessments. Somehow, she just knew... Sadly we lost Abigail on December 31, 2007 after battling Irritable Bowel Disease for over two years.
Little did I know that Abigail's replacement, or rather, replacements, were already in residence. The raiding of a hoarder's house in December 2007 sent 116 animals to shelters, rescues and boarding. Two cats remained at a kennel after the others had been taken by rescues - Amelia with one eye and JoJo with a cauliflower ear. They came here for a foster stint that ended up lasting 1 1/2 years. If their physical "imperfections" weren't a turnoff, nobody wanted to adopt both cats together. As you can see from their picture, they were a package deal. Amazingly, Amelia had the same canine assessment aptitude that Abigail had. In fact, other rescues would bring their dogs over for Amelia's highly valued opinion. JoJo was her backup. If Amelia said a dog was OK, then JoJo would confirm it.
At long last JoJo and Amelia have made it to their well-earned forever home. Yes, TOGETHER! I am thrilled that they now have a whole house to roam instead of just the one room they had here. They now have a sunroom where they can safely watch outdoor birds and wildlife from their indoor cat tree. Thank goodness I had the foresight to say my good-byes as I was loading them into their carriers for the last time. They were just too busy checking out their new digs to be bothered with formalities when I left them at their new home. (Click here for JoJo and Amelia's adoption page.)
So, dear dog applicants - if you need to know if a dog we have for adoption is good with cats, well, chances are we simply will no longer know with the level of certainty we have in the past. None of the other cats here has what it takes to fill the paws of those who have previously held the position of dog tester.