When John and Glenys adopted Enzo – the little cat with the half-tabby, half-polar bear markings – from The Lost Dogs’ Home’s Campaspe shelter, they found her to be much like any other 18-month-old: shy and curious.
In the months since the couple had their hearts won over by this quiet girl, sitting down by herself in the shelter looking like the original ‘scaredy cat,’ John and Glenys have proved to be the consummate cat whisperers, working through all of Enzo’s quirks and foibles to make her the happiest country cat around.
In a little over three months, the couple say that Enzo has come to feel very safe and comfortable with them – almost to the point of taking them for granted!
“We’ve got a rumpus room where Enz spent most of the first week when she came home with us,” John said. “We had some old car seat covers in there, and this is where she retreated, with her head popping out every now and then.”
After about a week, John said you could stand at the door and if you spoke quietly, and didn’t move, she would come to you.
It then progressed to the point where John could pick her up and take her for laps of the house, getting her used to everything while her neck “grew about two inches” as she strained to see everything around her.
“You just don’t know what kind of life they’ve had,” John said – which meant he and his wife were more than happy to take a slow and gentle approach to helping Enzo settle into the family.
It was only when Enzo became a little aloof and disinclined to cuddle that John and Glenys found out that their little cat had become a bit too comfortable.
“We talked to Barbara at the Campaspe shelter – they were so helpful – and she asked whether we were leaving food out for her all day, and we said yes, we did have bickies out for her.”
Barbara then explained that Enzo’s calculating cat mind had decided that she had everything she needed, and could ignore her adoptive parents if she wanted to.
“Barb said she was snobbing us!” chuckled John.
So, after scaling-back the day’s smorgasbord, Enzo decided to scale-up the affection, and John says she is now acting like the loving sweet-heart she is meant to be.
But if Enzo’s arrival has taught the family one thing, it is that every cat is different. While their last cat Jessie was also adopted – and lived with the couple for 15 years – that’s where the similarities between the two cats end.
“Jessie was a huge female,” said John. “She was very even tempered and unruffled by anything.”
While Enzo is undoubtedly a different personality, she is filling John and Glenys’s need for a cat in their lives with her own distinctive style.
“She still has a fair bit of kitten in her,” John said. “She couldn’t care less for her proper toys, but give her a ball of wool or string, or have her playing under the mats in the lounge room, and that’s all she needs.”
John has also built what’s affectionately known as ‘Enzo’s Holiday House’ – an outdoor, enclosed play area decked out with scratching posts and climbing ramps covered in fake grass.
While Enzo was at first uncertain about her new place, John and Glenys took her out there for short introductions and would sit with her as she got more and more willing to explore.
In typical contrary cat style, John said Enzo doesn’t give much notice to her scratching posts, preferring instead to get her claws into the novel texture of the fake grass.
She’s also become great mates with the couple’s elderly Jack Russell, Tiny, who still has enough beans in him to bump noses and frolic with the youthful Enzo.
And, when Tiny’s dog treats are out, Enzo proves to have terrific hearing.
“She comes out to see what’s going on and purrs around you,” said John.
It seems for all her shyness, Enzo is one smart cat, and all the love and patience from John and Glenys should enable her to be the cheekiest cat she can be.