Meet Betty, an unapproachable siamese kitten who hissed and retracted her body back into a corner whenever she was approached by people.
She was found as a stray and was struggling to find an adopter at the Jelly’s Place shelter in San Pablo, California.
Kendal Benken, one of the shelter’s most experienced feral kitten whisperers told The Dodo, “They said, ‘You better come here and take a look at this wild thing’”
Benken has helped tame even the most feral of kittens and has much experience in making distressed rescued animals feel comfortable at the shelter.
After taking a look at Betty, she realized that she wasn’t actually so scary, but instead she was frightened herself.
“No one could touch her. She was very angry. She was a little, tiny demon. It was a fear reaction.”
“She probably had never been handled. She acted so aggressively. She was hissing. She was adorable, though.”
Benken realized that the only way Betty would allow anyone to carry her, was to wrap her in a towel, so she did and took her home.
When Betty first arrived at Benkens house, you could tell she wasn’t at all pleased, she was still very grumpy, but Benken still had hope.
“I put her in a big dog crate with food, water, and a litter box. She could not run and hide.”
“With feral kittens, the best thing you can do is force them out of their comfort zone and put them in a busy part of your house.”
Not long after, the rest of Benkens rescue animals came over to meet Betty, and you could tell the dogs were quite captivated with their new family member.
It seemed like Betty’s bad attitude intrigued them more, and they would often crowd around her to try and make her feel at home.
Out of all Benken’s foster family of animals, Truvy, a yellow lab who was known for loving foster kittens, went above and beyond to try and help Betty.
“Truvy has a special gift. She gravitates toward the rescues. I think she fancies herself as a mama cat. Truvy was very fascinated by Betty.”
As the days went by, Betty slowly got more and more used to her new family, and two weeks later, it seemed as though she started liking her new home.
Then eventually, the real breakthrough came when Betty befriended Truvy.
“Betty just crawled onto Truvy, made herself comfortable, and wouldn’t move. Truvy was afraid to move because she knew Betty was on her. It was the sweetest thing,”
“Truvy was delighted Betty finally returned her affection.”
Unfortunately, now that Betty had transformed into a sweet, social kitten, Benkens job was over and she was ready for adoption, and it wasn’t long before she found a suitor.
“I spoke to Roz and knew she was the right one for Betty. She’s just such a great cat, and I wanted her to go to someone who would treat her so well,” Benken said.
“It was serendipity,” Roz told The Dodo. “She sent me the picture of Betty on top of the dog, and I thought, ‘How can I not adopt her?’”
“I figured she was scared. I kept her in a secure environment, and slowly expanded that environment and I let her tell me what she wanted to do.”
Now Betty is a friendly, happy cat who has bonded with another rescue cat called Amber.
“I think it’s wonderful having animals around. It’s a joy,” said Roz. “They also really love each other. Like a match made in heaven. And Betty sleeps in my bed; she cuddles, she’s such a loving little cat. She’s beautiful.”
What a beautiful story!