Slate was found in south Seattle as a stray. His finder took him in, but since she already had three cats, Slate lived in her garage.  He wasn’t neutered and he suffered from recurring bouts of an upper respiratory infection from living out in the cold. Even more troubling, a vet visit revealed that he had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). His finder cared for him for about 3 months and then brought him to SAS because she knew that he would receive needed medical care, and hopefully, a new home.

Once at the Shelter, Slate’s troubles weren’t over. His upper respiratory tract infection persisted and he had diarrhea, so he was held in the cat isolation room. Worst of all was his behavior toward people. He was difficult to medicate, and he would hiss and sometimes growl at staff and volunteers. He was especially apprehensive toward strangers, and he disliked being confined in a cage. He didn’t swat or try to bite volunteer Deb, though, and he even allowed her to pet him. She knew that his finder had groomed and pet him, and she found that he especially loved getting a back scratch (she used a backscratcher at first, to avoid potential swats). She videotaped herself petting Slate, to show others that he wasn’t aggressive toward everyone.

Slate’s FIV+ status and his sometimes aggressive behavior posed a challenge. Deb, who had befriended Slate at the Shelter, volunteered to foster him in an effort to see if he could become a friendly house cat. Slate was cautious toward his foster parents at first, but as in the Shelter, Deb soon found that the key to willing Slate’s affection was scratching his back. Slate learned to love being petted, groomed and held.  He became a fixture in his foster dad’s lap, and they knew he was a born-again lap cat who never wanted to be out on the streets again.  Remarkably, Slate never once missed the litter box or sprayed, which was remarkable for a stray, previously unneutered male cat.

Now that his behavior problems were behind him, the focus turned to Slate’s medical issues. When Slate went to the Shelter clinic to be neutered, veterinarian Dr. Bittner did a thorough exam and found that he had gum and dental disease as well as puffy paw pads, which were a symptom of his FIV+ condition. Dental care in particular is expensive, but the Shelter paid for Slate’s tooth extractions. They all loved him at Phinney Ridge Animal Hospital, and said he was very well behaved there.

Slate found his forever home in February during an adoption event at the Mud Bay store in lower Queen Anne.  Slate’s new owner, Julio, works from home, so Slate always has a lap to sit in.  Julio reports:  “Slate is perfect!  He follows me all around the house and is always up for cuddles.  I love him to bits.  Thanks for taking care of him!”

Slate was a cat who needed a second chance, and he found one at the Seattle Animal Shelter. To help more cats like Slate, please donate today. Mud Bay on lower Queen Anne hosts the Fabulous Felines adoption event, featuring Shelter cats, on the fourth Saturday of each month.