For animals that are shy, fearful or undersocialized, a foster home can act as the perfect stepping stone on the road to adoption. Foster parents provide individualized attention and care that helps pets acclimate to home life, and the ASPCA is so grateful to all the fosters who have opened their hearts to our furry friends. In honor of National Foster Care Month, we’re sharing the success story of one foster feline named Torvald.
Torvald arrived at the ASPCA in March 2013. Found as a stray in Brooklyn, New York, the four-year-old cat was incredibly shy, timid and fearful. He was frightened of toys, strangers, noise and movement, and at the ASPCA Animal Hospital he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. He was the perfect candidate for foster care.
We sent Torvald to live with a foster named Ellen, and she quickly observed many of the traits we had seen at the hospital. “Torvald is a scaredy cat,” she reported. “When a neighbor stopped by briefly, he retreated into his closet for a full day. He is terrified of aluminum foil—even when I just reach for the box—and he runs away when I reach for the oven door.” It was clear that living in a home was a new experience for Torvald, but under Ellen’s care he soon began to improve.
“Torvald has become my buddy,” Ellen stated a few weeks later. “He hangs around with me all day, looks out the window and sleeps on my bed.” She also reported that while he was originally scared of toys, he had begun to explore and enjoy playtime. “I’ve really come to like him. He’s a good cat and he deserves a wonderful home.”
After his transformational experience in foster care, Torvald was finally ready to begin his search for a permanent family. He was transferred back to the ASPCA Adoption Center, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before he met Alix and her boyfriend, Joe.
“I wanted a companion who was independent, clever and loving,” said Alix of her quest for a pet. She and Joe had never been to the ASPCA before were immediately drawn to Torvald. “It was his eyes!” she recalls. “He tilted his head back, looked up, down, left and right, and finally straight ahead at me. He looked just like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and I wanted to protect him and give him the world from that one look.” She and Joe adopted Torvald and changed his name to Regimus, or Reggie for short.
We told Alix and Joe that Reggie might take some time to come out of his shell, but she was happy to report that, “after only 10 minutes in his new home, he was taking selfies with us!” She says that although he always has a hiding place ready, he is a loving presence who enjoys when they play hip-hop and R&B music in the house. “What made my heart melt the most was when we called him by his new name and his head popped up, eyes glistening, and he walked over to us. We were on the same wavelength and that moment confirmed that he fell for us like we did for him,” Alix says.
Reggie’s journey from “scaredy cat” to beloved pet wasn’t always easy, but he is living proof that sometimes, a little extra love and care is all it takes. Thanks to an amazing network of behaviorists, fosters and adopters, this is one sweet kitty who is living the “Happy Tail” of his dreams.