CCHC ‘unadoptable’ shelter cat wins $10,000 prize
Grace, an 8-year-old cat who has lived her entire life in the cat house at Colonial Capital Humane Society’s shelter, is purrfectly impurrfect.
How purrfectly? Her impurrfections have earned the shelter $10,000 and given her a real chance to find that “furever” home. She was chosen as one of three cats from more than 2,000 entries to be a national winner of Arm & Hammer’s Purrfectly Impurrfect Cat contest.
Arm & Hammer makes baking soda and just about any product that can be infused with baking soda from laundry detergent to cat litter. The company has taken a shine to homeless cats and has set up a “Feline Generous” site at www.felinegenerous.com whose purpose is to connect people to a network of shelters across the country, to increase adoptions and donations. It focuses, a press release says, “on cats who tend to be overlooked due to age, illness, appearance or misunderstood personalities.”
Qualifying cats for the contest must be those very cats who have, indeed, had a hard time finding homes.
The three winners receive $10,000 for their shelter (and that’ll buy a lot of litter), professional counseling for their adopting families by Pam Johnson-Bennett who is a certified cat behavior consultant, and national and local representation of the cat to get its face and story to the public and help find it a home for Johnson-Bennett to talk to.
Three judges took part, including Johnson-Bennett who, Arm & Hammer says, “is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting.”
The winners, along with Grace, are a New York cat named JR who is in need of surgery to remove his badly damaged ears and a Michigan cat who’s “clearly been through a lot,”
Board director Rhonda Heath said she saw an advertisement for the contest on a Facebook ad. “I did it on the 24th of November,” Heath said. “Grace has always been one of my favorites at the shelter.”
In her brief essay Heath wrote:
Grace has been in our shelter for 2,801 days. She came to us as a kitten and now she is a little over 8 years old. Grace is a volunteer favorite. if she graces you with her head butts and purring then you should feel very honored. Grace is very picky about which humans she chooses to let into her world, but she is the Mama cat of the shelter. She will take the most timid, scared cats under her wing and make them feel comfortable. She shows them the ropes and mothers them until they feel safe and secure. Grace recently had to have surgery for a tumor, and she came through the surgery like the strong female feline she is. Because of Grace’s standoffish nature with most humans, she tends to get overlooked at the shelter.
“She’s very particular about who she’ll let pet her or have anything to do with her,” Heath said in an interview. “She’s got a little bit of a grouchy face, but she’s a beautiful tabby… whenever we have a really scared cat come in, Grace always seems to navigate to them and zone in on them and let them know it’s okay. But when it comes to people, she’s really picky.”
But for the people she chooses to love, she cranks up her purr motor and takes all the affection she can get.
But because she doesn’t come seeking attention from visitors and just sort of hangs back, she has not been picked in all that time.
Maybe Arm & Hammer can find the person Grace will love.
“I had no idea I would win,” Heath said. “They said they loved her story. I submitted it thinking it would never go anywhere. I was so excited when it did.”
The prize money, which should arrive around the end of the year, will be used for operational expenses and toward CCHS’s building project that will include a new cat shelter.