A story about Juniper by P.J., a Feline Rescue shelter volunteer.
Juniper. Whenever I see her, I wonder why so many people turn to breeders to adopt their cats. I wonder how anyone could abandon a creature so extraordinary on the doorstep of F.R. On the other hand, F.R. would not have the glory of her presence if she hadn’t been abandoned.
Juniper’s Persian breeding is obvious. Her body is round and boxy and covered with a remarkably patterned black-upon-white cascade of luxurious fur. She does not possess the snub-nosed flat face of the classic Persian, but rather a doll’s face with a baby-pink nose and lips dominated by breathtaking chartreuse-colored eyes. She does not walk but sashays across a room, and she grooms herself meticulously. In short, she has what it takes to be a show cat, the kind of beauty any breeder would be proud to present to potential buyers.
But Juniper is not a mere show-piece. That is beneath her. She’s too special for that, and she knows it. She does not merely reside in the F.R. Flexiroom with four other cats, she RULES it. And though she might resemble a cuddly panda bear, DO NOT attempt to cuddle her! She will put you in your place in short order, believe me!
I habitually clean the Flexiroom that Juniper rules on my volunteer mornings. It has taken me several months to get any response from Juniper other than growling, snapping and hissing if I came within a foot of her. She responds in kind to her feline roommates, but fortunately, they can hold their own. I put a plan in place to bond successfully with Juniper: PRACTICE PATIENCE. I began by sitting on the floor, making eye contact and talking softly to her, staying well out of her personal space. I made sure she watched me as I replaced her water and kibbles and put clean blankets in her sleeping quarters, enduring her occasional growls and swats and talking softly all the while, telling her I loved her. I tossed her toys I thought she’d enjoy, making sure she watched me as I picked them out. After awhile, she responded to my attention by slowly blinking those beautiful eyes, and her growling became less frequent.
Two weeks ago, a miracle happened. Juniper approached me sitting on the floor, crawled into my lap and planted a kiss on my nose. She followed this up with a habitual growl, but the kiss was worth it.
Juniper now gives me permission to scratch behind her ears. She closes those eyes of hers and purrs like mad. When she’s had enough, she lets me know with a growl and sometimes a swat. But I don’t mind. Her love and acceptance is the high spot of my day.
If you are interested in learning more about Juniper, please stop by the Feline Rescue Adoption Center or call 651-642-5900, ext.3.