They say a leopard can’t change it’s spots. If you Google this saying it claims “One cannot change ones essential nature.”
Well Sally is living proof that while a leopard can’t change, a small black panther looking cat can completely change her whole essential nature.
Sally was originally adopted from Tabby’s Place 8 years ago as a kitten. She was returned to Tabby’s Place 1 year ago for extreme aggression in her home.
She was repeatedly attacking the humans in her home, and they couldn’t take it anymore.
Sally arrived back at Tabby’s Place as a frightening ball of fury. She was angry, she was hurting from losing her home, and she lashed out at everyone who came anywhere near her.
When she cleared our holding rooms we decided the only place we could put her was in our community room. That was where most of the staff worked, so there would always be someone to keep an eye on her. We certainly couldn’t put her anywhere the public went without an escort, and we wanted to keep our volunteers as safe as possible.
We did a very slow introduction into Sally’s new room–I think everyone was a little afraid of what would happen when she was loose in the room. Eventually we opened the door to her crate and let her explore the community room. It didn’t go well. Sally would attack volunteers at random, attack some of the other cats in the room, and everyone was afraid of her. Sally herself was not a happy girl. She was angry, and she was going to let everyone know just how angry she was.
Sally decided she really hated one of the cats in the community room, Bucca, and would viciously attack her as often as possible. All the staff had water bottles by their desks so we could be ready for a Sally attack. Eventually even being squirted with water didn’t deter Sally, it just made her even more angry. Sally got so bad with some of the cats in the room we had to put up a divider, so Sally couldn’t get to the back part of the room, and those cats were safe from her wrath. When the staff left for the night we would crate Sally, to make sure all the cats were safe while we were gone.
One day, while I was walking through the community room, Sally came over and started rubbing on my legs. At first I just stood there, waiting for the attack, but it never came. From that day, Sally always rubbed on my legs, and eventually let me pet her a little without Sally taking my hand off. Progress. Over the next few months Sally and I bonded. For whatever reason Sally decided I was her person, and I was the only one she would listen to. It got to the stage where I could stop her from attacking other cats and people simply by saying “Sally, NO!”. She would immediately stop what she was about to do, and run over to me. I was the only one who could get her to go into her crate at night, I would just point and say “Sally, in” and in she would go. The staff would tell me they had such a fight to get her in to the crate when I wasn’t there.
Recently we remodeled Tabby’s Place, and part of the remodel was making the Adoption Rooms into offices for myself, Angela (our Development Director) and Danielle (Our Director of Operations).
When we were deciding which cats would be in our new offices my choice was easy. Sally!
So now we are settled into our new offices, and Sally loves it! Sally is unbelievably happy to have her own space, and me all to herself. We did have to compromise a little by also taking in Bacon, who has many problems, and also needed somewhere to go. He also doesn’t like other cats, gets overstimulated easily, and is very noise sensitive. So Sally and Bacon time share my office. Sally is out during the day with me, then at night she goes into her crate and Bacon comes out for the night. It’s the perfect compromise because Sally gets to be with me all day while Bacon sleeps, and Bacon gets the room all to himself all night, when there is no noise to make him crazy. We are very happy in our little world that used to be Adoption Room 2.
Now Sally spends her days laying in my lap, or across my keyboard. She kisses me as soon as I get to work in the morning for at least 10 minutes, she seems so happy I’m there. Sally plays, Sally naps, and most important Sally is happy, relaxed and loving life.
I have no idea why Sally picked me to be her person, but I’m really glad she did. We have such a strong bond, and I am so glad to her see genuinely happy, and I’m getting used to having to type with my arms around Sally as she snuggles close to me.
So there you go, a leopard can’t change it’s spots, but a beautiful black cat can be sweet and lovable when she feels safe, secure and loved.