Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

Real Rescue Cats Are Talking…


Hiya! Savannah Here!

Here I am again with another Life Changing Interview…and this week my interview is with a CAT!  And what a fantabulous CAT he is…

Ok…now here is the chance to try to figure out WHO THIS CAT IS!!!

This one’s going to be hard…so start thinking about it…(taps one claw up, down, up, down, up, down…)…Ok, that’s enough time…who do you think it is????

What??…You don’t know?…Can’t figure it out?…

I would like to introduce you to one very brave, handsome mancat…my furriend…


Heathcliff is from a large extended family and they call themselves The Maple Syrup Mob and they live in Ontario, Canada…all 13 cats and their Guardians, Jane and Chris.  All 13 cats are rescues…hmmm…I may have a few more CAT Life Changing Interviewees in this group!

Please help me give a warm Paw Blogosphere welcome to HEATHCLIFF!!


Savannah:  Heya…Heathcliff (I think that is how they say it in Canada speak??).  I can’t tell you how much I have been looking forward to having a meow with you!

I know…you were a bit shy, reluctant…but look at this!  Here we are…meowing with each other about life!

Heathcliff: Hi to you too, Savannah! I can’t believe that I (a very shy former feral) am telling you my story, and that lots of people will read it.  I hope you like me…I really need to be loved…. I really do.

Savannah(reaches over to Heathcliff, places her paws on his)…Heathcliff, I am completely and totally your furriend, furrever and furrever…and I already just luvluvluv you…

So, let me start with something simple and easy…how old were you when you can first remember stuff??

Heathcliff:  I’m four now, I will be five in November…so thinking back to when I was 7 and a half months old, starving, dirty , living rough out in the country…where scary animals live (wolves, bears, coyotes, raccoons)…and being frightened of everything…gulp…that is very difficult for me.

I did have a sibling with me but I don’t know what happened to him, he just wasn’t there one day…(wiping leaky eyes)…

I had to eat anything I could catch or find…like food put out for the birds…and that was how I found my forever home.

Savannah:  I don’t mean to be too intrusive (VBP), but would you mind sharing with us how you arrived at your furrever home??

Heathcliff:  Oh my, Savannah, this is really, really hard…sigh…(plops down in the traditional cat ‘meatloaf’ position)…here is what I remember…

One day I found some food in a dish by a door; it was so tasty and felt so good in my empty tummy that I went to the door twice a day to see if the dish was there.

I heard two scary human voices…you have to understand that living in a remote area I had never heard a human voice before…One said “Should we bring him in?”…the other voice said “We really don’t need another cat”…first voice said “No, but he needs us”.

Excuse me, Savvy, I just need a moment, this bit is really hard for me to say…my throat goes all lumpy.

Savannah:  Oh meowser, Heathcliff…no problem…just take your time…Can I fetch you some water???…

Heathcliff:  That would be really helpful Savvy…errrrr…ummmm…is it OK if I call you ‘Savvy’???…

Savannah:  (waves paw…)…oh phooey…of course! We’re furriends!

Heathcliff:  Ok, thanks…that helps me feel more comfy…

One day I went to the door to see if there was food in the bowl, it was thundering and lightening and very scary, I was soaking wet.

The bowl was in a wire thing…I stepped inside because I was so hungry. BANG!!!

I was trapped inside the wire thing, and then one of the humans picked up the wire thing and carried it.

I was jumping up and down inside screaming “LET ME OUT! DON”T KILL ME!”. Then I was in an inside place…I’d never been in an inside place before…”LET ME OUT! I’M SO SCARED!”

I tried everything I could think of to get out…I screeched loudly to scare the humans… I ran around the room to try to find a hole in the wall I could escape through, I tried to make a hole with my claws but it was no good…I climbed up the walls and began to bite the wall to make a hole, but still no good….I was trapped.

Eventually, I was exhausted trying to escape, so I found a dark enclosed place to hide in to wait and see what the humans would do to me.

Ahhhh…ummmm…Savvy…I’m sorry if this brings back bad memories for any of your readers, Savvy, but it might help human people understand how far I have come to reach this point in my recovery journey.

Savannah:  Oh, Heathcliff, thank Ceiling Cat you are brave and courageous enough to talk about this…I was also “trapped”…we must all help each other realize how terrifying this can be…even if it leads to a really good result…thank you for being so strong to tell us!

So Heathcliff…would you be OK meowing about what has been your greatest challenge in learning to trust and depend on your Guardians?

 Heathcliff:  Savvy, my biggest challenge (and I have many…cough, cough) is trust.

How did I know that the humans were not going to hurt me?  I thought they might even kill me.  I couldn’t let them see ME; I hid away in my safe room.  If they came near me I fought and screamed in case they were going to hurt me.  No way was I going to let them touch me!

Six months after I was captured, a kitten (William) came to live with us…he had been hit by a car and had his own recovery to think about but he was fun and I liked him…and he really liked me.  I would wait until nighttime when the humans were asleep and William and I would play, then the other cats joined in.

Every night I would come out from my hiding places (and boy, did I have a lot) call for the other cats and we would all play.

…ummm…Savvy…you can see we aren’t all playing in this photo, but I wanted to share some of my sibs with efurryone…

One day the other cats made me feel so brave that I didn’t hide away in the daytime, but slept cuddled up with them on the humans’ bed.  I started doing this every day.  The lady human (I now call her Mummy Janey) walked past the bed one afternoon, and touched all the other cats as she went by…I was so busy looking at what the other cats did that I didn’t notice when she touched my leg…and it didn’t hurt!!!

She kept doing this every day; she walked past me on the bed…touched me and walked away…then one day, 10 months after I arrived, she started her usual walk around the bed touching everyone, and just before she got to me I started to purr because now I knew that her touch didn’t hurt…in fact I really liked it. She cried.

Savannah:  oh my cat!…I have to learn that too…I am so afraid of being hurt by a human touch…tell me more…maybe you can help me and my Mom and Dad learn how to help each other…

Heathcliff:  Savvy, my humans (see how I now call them mine?!) invented the “Heathcliff can predict the future” method of recovery (I don’t even need a crystal ball, heh…heh…heh…heh).

I HAVE to know what is going to happen next; otherwise I do the ‘feral freak out’.

For example…picking me up …yes, I did say picking me up (!!!),

This is how I learned (I do this with Janey…I’m working on Daddy Chris!).

Several times a day Janey touched the top of my back, then added a scritchy scratch .  I learned that touching me meant a scritchy scratch.  Then she touched my sides…scritchy scratch…under my belly…scritchy scratch…you get the picture (I love scritchy scratches).

Janey progressed to holding me around my middle…followed by guess what? YEH! Scritchy scratches.  Janey spent two years working on this (I helped by standing still for scritchy scratches), then she put her hands around me and lifted me off the ground; about half an inch.

Janey kept working away with me being helpful by offering my butt for scritchy scratches.  Would you believe that this year (four and a half years after I arrived) she picked me up to her face height and kissed my cheek (I’ll pause a moment for you all to cheer and tell me how clever/brave I am).  Throughout all this, if ever I began to struggle, Janey put me on the floor and held me firm for just a second, I relaxed and offered my butt for scritchy scratches.  I know that the routine for picking me up is ALWAYS the same.

Janey and Chris use the “Heathcliff can predict the future” method for all of my challenges.  I’m very proud of this achievement, Savvy.

 Savannah:  squeeeee!! Oh Heathcliff!  My Mom and Dad are so gonna try that method (VBP)!!  I can’t be picked up yet either!!  I am so afraid of having a human face close to mine!…Thanks!

Heathcliff:  Savvy, I know that I have come a long way in my recovery but I still have challenges.

My first experience at the vet’s was a bad one…I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next and I had a ‘feral freak out’…there was blood everywhere and I was really scared.  I just can’t go in my carrier or anything that reminds me of the wire thing that trapped me.

A few months ago I was really bad to Chris and he had to go to the Drs because he tried to put me in the carrier to go to the vet.  I was just too afraid of the carrier…I didn’t know what was going to happen.  Janey and Chris are working on that challenge.  It’s going to take time.

If there is a situation where I can’t predict the  a knock at the door, a strange noise, a visitor, “STRANGER DANGER!!” then I hide in my safe place until it’s just me and my family.  Having a safe place is still very important to me.

Savannah:  Oh Heathcliff, I totally understand.  I have need of a ‘Safe Place’ too..

So one last question…can you offer any advice to our readers to help them support their adult rescue cat, or one they may be thinkin’ about bringing into their home,  through its recovery process?

Heathcliff:  Savvy, is this our last question already?  Purrrrr…I think you are a great listener.

Anywho, you know that saying, “more haste, less speed”?  Well it could have been written for an adult rescue cat.

We need time to trust our new family…we can’t be rushed into trust; there is a lot for us to figure out.

Our forever people need to be patient…yes, four and a half years of daily work to be briefly picked up and kissed seems a long time, but it would never have happened if Janey had tried to rush things.  Consistency is also key…we rescues need to know what is going to happen in any situation…if people aren’t consistent then how can we learn to trust them and their actions?

Finally, love…love us unconditionally, and we love you back in return, but let us show you our love in OUR own way.  Love is what makes it all worthwhile.

Savannah:  (reaches over to give Heathcliff a soft paw pat)…Oh Heathcliff…I know this was not your most fave thing to do…but do you have any last thought or words of wisdom you want to share?

Heathcliff:  Savvy, if only I knew then what I know now….biting walls doesn’t taste very nice!

Thank you for letting me share my story, I hope it helps people to understand that even feral cats can have a future.

…Savvy…here are a couple of last photos just to show efurryone I really do play and have a great time with my family…

…and one more…

Savannah:  OMC!! Heathcliff…your bravery in pawing forward to meow your story is so helpful for so many Guardians who are considering adopting adult cats and for those who already have adopted adult cats…like my Dad and Mom…you Heathcliff are my hero Mancat!!!


I hope you all found some great tips and helpful information about adult rescue cats.  We are special and worth spending the time with us to learn about our REAL SELF.

Paw pats, Savannah

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57 thoughts on “Real Rescue Cats Are Talking…

  1. Eeoww Savannah!! Diz Heathcliff iz one bery brave kitteh! He shure haz bin thru so much, eben more than me haz n he is findin hiz pawz!!
    Me Hu’Mum waz sobbin readin Heathcliff’z story….me had to headbutt her to calm her down…she getz so ‘mo-shunal ober dese storiez…me iz gonna run ober n fur-end diz Heathcliff!!
    Apawz to you dear kitteh boy!! You iz me HERO!!!
    Lub NYLABLUE n her Hu’Mum Sherri-Ellen.

  2. What a moving story! Heathcliff is very brave. Thank you so much for sharing his story! And thank you to Heathcliff for sharing those most useful tips.
    Lots of purrs

  3. orientallily001 on said:

    Oh Savannah… what a wonderfully fantastic interview! I loved meeting Heathcliff. What a great guy, he is. And you asked just the right questions, too. purrs

    Now, if you could be so kind as to come on over to Nerissa’s Life, you can pick up YOUR NEW AWARD! Yoo-hoo! purrs

    Nerissa from Nerissa’s Life (’cause I see WP is calling me orientallily again!)

    • Oh Nissy, on my blog WP has ALWAYS called you orientlilly! I know it is you. And purrlease hop over to Heathcliffs blog and let him know how much you like him, he needs the attention. Purrrssss for the award. I am behind in posting award cuz of our move…almost done…whew

  4. Wow what an interview. AMAZING well done, so happy for Heathcliff xxx

  5. Another brilliant interview pal!! Keep up the great work, and Heathcliff is amazing!!

  6. spittythekitty on said:

    Oh my! Even though I was only a few months old (like 3) when I came to live with the Human, I still identify so much with Heathcliff’s story! One of the things the Human learned about me after the Great Vet Adventure of August, 2012, was that I really truly do love and trust her now. She was really, really afraid that I would revert to my complete isolation and fear behaviors from when I first came cause I’d be so mad at her. You cannot IMAGINE how happy she was that I came out from UTB after only three or four hours to say hello and get a few pets from her. Somehow, even though she did that TERRIBLE thing to me, I still knew she lubbed me and would never hurt me. So I forgived her pretty fast. I might still need to get even sometime, though, when she least suspects it! XOXOXOXOXO

  7. Hey Savvy, Your Champion here. Hi Miss Linda.

    Savvy, I’m calling Oprah… right now, yes, Mom will dial… you need your own show on OWN… that’s it! Your talent and this series deserves GLOBAL attention.

    We were deeply touched by Heathcliff’s interview, thank you for sharing such moving, helpful stories. Miss Janey’s efforts remind Mom of how she helped Puffy get brushed. It took 4 years as well.

    Sending Jetty kisses, JJ hugs and Mom’s BRAVO!

    • oh, Jetty and Miss Lori…OPRAH!!! Woo Hoo!! Seriously, would your furamily be interested in getting Puffy’s (and Fluffy’s) stories documented like we did for you Big Guy?? I would be honored. It would be posted in early November…I am now short on cat rescue interviews…several have had very tough times and had to drop out. Let me know, paw pats, Savvy

  8. Charlotte on said:

    Loved the interview about your story Heathcliff! You lived a terrifying life until you found your furever one-so happy for you!

  9. Savvy that was a wonderful interview with Heathcliff. You are so good at this! We will go over and say hi 🙂

  10. What an amazing story. *appaws* I show my love by biting but the peeps don’t understand that. It took a long time until Pop could pick me up. Now Pop can even touch and FURminate my tuxedo shirt. He couldn’t a year ago. Knowing I have cat furrends that understand this is impawtant.

    • oh CK…lots of the adult rescue cats who come through the private shelter where Mom and Dad found me do that…they give the bitey bite to volunteers just to let them know a) I am luving what you are doing or b) please stop…too much stimulation for now…and no one ever get hurt…so glad Pop can furminate you! Mom wants to get one of those for me…just too many other things going on right now…sigh

  11. Heathcliff is very handsome and he’s lucky to have found such patient bipeds. That’s a lovely story!

  12. Wow! What a wonderful home you found Heathcliff!

  13. Hi Savvy, WOW..Mum and Dad are all leaky eyed right now. I didn’t know that there were so many loving people out there, and they liked me! Some people don’t like me because I was feral,they think there must be something wrong with me.
    I can’t give Savvy (we are good friends now, so I call her Savvy) enough appawse for doing these interviews. I think we need to give her an award because she is telling OUR stories so that people will learn that we can be pawsome.
    I have to thank CC an Scouty at Katnip Lounge too because their story made me feel braver.
    Love Heathcliff

  14. I just LOVED to read HeathCliff´s story ❤
    I sure will pop over and visit him and the other cat´s right away 🙂

  15. We love this! Heathcliff sure has a very patient and understanding Mommy!

  16. What a great interview. Well done to Heathcliff for being brave enough to share his story. It must have been pretty scary to experience but by sharing it maybe he realises how many supportive furfriends he has cheering him on his journey. Whee are his newest fans!

    Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

  17. Wonderful interview!

    Heathcliff reminds me so much of my late Toby -also a rescue. Nobody wanted him because he was black. Such a wonderful, loving kitty he was!

  18. What a lovely story – doesn’t matter if Heathcliff never gets to tolerate other humans, he’s got the ones he needs. Having said that, the vet is one stranger he does need to let close but hopefully just once a year. Good luck to them ALL!

  19. Wonderful interview Savvy and Heathcliff…’s always heartwarming to hear stories from other animals who have found their forever homes after living a tough life…..learning to trust is a tough thing when you’ve had a rough start but we can do anything we set our minds to – right gang?

    Nice to meet you Heathcliff…………… 😀

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  20. We are all misty-eyed reading this! Heathcliff, you are a brave boy.

    • isn’t he just pawsome! I am so pleased that Jane and Chris hopped over to my blog when I interviewed CC and Scouty…that is how I connected with Heathcliff, or else you sent me there??…however, it was wonderful learning about them

  21. Enlightening interview Savvy. You really know how to get to the heart of things xx

  22. Oh, what a fabulous guest and “Heathcliff can predict the future” – how cool!!! But honestly I’ve got tears in my eyes while reading… that’s currently dangerous, hope Mr. B. will not be on strike … but I was so sad about his lost sibling …Thanks Savannah!!! Thanks Heathcliff!!!

  23. I have actually met Janey and she is the most gentle, patient lady – when she left Canada to stay in the UK she visited us, and I know she really really missed her cats [and Chris!] Heathcliff is very privileged to live in such a caring home with such lovely people.

  24. Oh wow. What a great interview! Thanks to both you and Heathcliff for sharing his story!
    Play bows,

Waving paw...HI!...what'd 'cha think...??

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