Betsy — From Shy Wallflower to Belle of the Ball
A litter of cats was rescued and brought to the shelter almost 19 years ago. All of the kittens but one were friendly, liked people, and loved to be petted. They quickly found forever homes. However, there was one kitten, a beautiful long-haired gray cat, who was extremely shy and avoided contact with people
Because no one adopted the kitten, Standish kept her as a permanent resident of the shelter. She was named Betsy. Betsy has lived in the shelter's kitchen ever since. She was given an "apartment" in the kitchen cabinets, and a bed was installed. She was very content to live there for years avoiding people as much as possible.
Eventually Betsy gradually began to sniff a long-time volunteer's fingers when they were offered. Then after a few years, Betsy allowed the volunteer to pet her on the head. Betsy later allowed other long-time volunteers to pet her. Then one day she allowed a volunteer to brush her. Betsy began coming out of her "apartment" and into the kitchen more and more.
There were set-backs along the way, however. When Betsy's sponsor brought gifts to her, Betsy took one look at the stranger coming into the kitchen and darted behind the dishwasher. She refused to come out, so the sponsor was not able to see Betsy that day. Several years later Betsy's sponsor came again bearing gifts, and Betsy was quite the hostess this time. She was friendly and sweet to her benefactor.
In the last three or four years, Betsy has made enormous progress. She is now the greeter for the shelter. Most of the time when people come into the shelter, she comes out of her "apartment," and greets them with a nice leg rub and asks for some petting. Most recently, she has let her favorite volunteers hold her in their laps if they sit on the floor with her.
She had a party for her 18th birthday in 2018, with a cat food cake and candles, and loved the attention she got. At a holiday open house, even though the kitchen was full of people she had never met, she took full advantage of the situation and asked everyone to pet her. She was the consummate hostess. Betsy is now looking forward to her 19th birthday party in May of 2019.