How was the adoption process for you?
Our adoption process was actually very unconventional. So, some back story: I am also a volunteer with Stray2Me Rescue, and I have had my own Romanian Rescue dog – Otis – for around 18 months now. He has always been a very scared dog, basically terrified of his own shadow, but we’re working on it. The only contact he had previously had with cats was with my sister’s cat, and he would just stand and bark at the cat (it was a kind of fear aggression, but as soon as the cat moved Otis would run away).
Fast forward to my volunteering with Stray2Me, a litter of 4 kittens and their mum were rescued and living at the vets in crates in Romania. It broke my heart to see them there, and after a lot of convincing of my partner, we asked if we could foster the remaining 2 kittens still waiting to find homes. Milo (previously Emmett) and Gizmo (previous Jacob) arrived with us in November, with the plan they would live in our study until we could find them a home. Not ideal, but much better than their situation in Romania. We didn’t think we had any hope of ever introducing them to Otis as he is very fear aggressive. But, the kittens arrived, and were the most confident kittens I have ever met. The doors in our home have little glass windows, so it was tricky trying to keep Otis away from them, which led us to the decision we would give it a go and introduce them slooooowly and hope for the best. Within the space of 2 weeks we had all of the animals living relatively harmoniously together. We started off by exchanging scents using different blankets, and then moved onto interactions through the door, then replacing the door with just a stairgate, then removed that all together. We initially had Otis on a lead just in case, but just like that Milo and Gizmo were roaming around the house, stealing Otis’ bed, and causing kitten havoc everywhere. As soon as we knew Otis would be able to live happily with them, we knew we could never let them go. We had formed such a bond with them since their arrival. So, we formalised the adoption, and had our first experience of failed fostering.
What was it like the first moment you met your rescue?
The first moment we met our two boys was actually quite funny. I have done a lot of home-checks throughout volunteering for various rescues, and I always paint a picture of cats being terrified, hiding for days, not wanting fuss, but Milo and Gizmo proved me to be a complete liar. We met their transport at another drop point to save them some time, and the whole journey home (it felt like forever, but it was only 15 minutes) they cried and cried. I honestly thought they were in pain because they cried so loud. We got them home, we took them into the study where we had everything prepared. We unlocked their carrier and stood back to give them a chance to figure out what was going on.
They both instantly came out of their carrier and explored the entire room, including both me and my partner! All they wanted was fuss and food. They sat on our laps for about an hour before we decided to head off to bed (they had arrived quite late, around 11pm). The next morning, we expected to go down to a messy room, but both cats had used their litter tray and slept together on their new bed. It was really like they had lived there forever. Nothing seemed to phase either of them, even the barking dog that occasionally popped up at their door didn’t bother them.
Memorable firsts or memorable moments?
This one’s a tricky one… I think the best first was when we first let them out of their carrier. It was just so cute to see them come straight to us for fuss. It’s been a long time since I have had cats, and even when we had them growing up, they were never very affectionate, so this was a really great feeling to have two cats that wanted attention all of the time. I have to say it can be hard work when we are busy on the phone or in meetings and a cat appears on your shoulder!
The best memorable moment was the first evening we had all of the animals together roaming freely without worrying that Otis was feeling stressed. It was a huge weight lifted, and to be honest it felt like a really great achievement for us.
Advice for others considering to adopt a Romanian rescue?
My advice would be to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and hope for the best. We were expecting two very timid, frightened, and human-averse kittens to arrive, and we were prepared to give them space for days if not weeks before attempting to interact with them. Also, make sure you get some scratching posts and boxes for them, kittens’ claws are worse than puppy teeth!!
I would also suggest taking a few days off work, they took up a surprising amount of our time until we had managed to get a good routine with them eating, sleeping, and playing. Even with working from home, it was hard work with two excitable kittens constantly jumping around on you.
Check out our Happy Tails page for more cute snaps of Milo & Gizmo after their rescue, before arriving to their forever home in the UK.