SEPTEMBER 2019 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 57
TAMING PATIENCE IS PARAMOUNT
BY ALLISON MATOS
It has been said that time spent with
cats is never wasted. But to socialize
a cat, the key ingredient to success
Why socialize a cat? There’s an
overpopulation of homeless felines
on Long Island, and often good Samaritans
take on the challenge of
transforming an outdoor cat into a
forever pet. While not an impossible
task, it takes work and patience — for
both cats and people.
“Sadly, feral is an overused term,”
says Laurie Iglesias, a longtime shelter
volunteer and animal advocate.
“Only some homeless cats are feral.
Ferals will do everything and anything
to avoid humans and human
contact. I’ve seen some of the most
feral cats become loving additions
to many families.”
Since animals are food driven, meals
can be used to socialize them. The
goal is to have the cat feel comfortable
eating in your presence.
Leave food in the same place for 20
minutes and stay close. If they don’t
show up, pull the plate and try again
later. The cat will eventually learn
that if it wants to eat, you need to
be there. After several meals together,
the cat will gain a sense
of safety around you.
The next goal may be physical
contact. Iglesias recommends
beginning by slowly
approaching the cat with a
soft hand, allow them to sniff
“If the kitten
... try putting
a dab of baby
w o r k s
on your finger,” she says. “As
the cat approaches, slowly attempt
to pet it under its chin if you can.
Repeating this activity lets the
cat associate your presence with
good things: a delicious treat and
Gail Hoffman of Lynbrook brought
her cat, Patches, inside five years ago.
“Patience is key,” she says. “Let them
hide to feel safe. Give them little
pieces of food from your hand and
speak softly to them, and if you can
get one cat to purr for you, the rest
Resources available to those interested
in taking cats off the streets
include support groups, local veterinarians,
shelters, or rescues that
can provide additional information
So save a l Bringing an outdoor cat indoors ife — you’ll be glad you did!
can be rewarding work.
NORTH SHORE ANIMAL LEAGUE AMERICA’S NATIONAL
RAISE LIFE-SAVING FUNDS FOR RESCUE ANIMALS
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2019
9:00 AM - Registration . 10:00 AM - Walk Begins
North Hempstead Beach Park
175 West Shore Road . Port Washington, NY
Can’t make it? Register and
walk in your own community!
To register and to learn about
fundraising prizes, visit:
Adoptions . Entertainment
Food Trucks . Vendor Tables
Microchipping . Dog Agility Course
Sponsorships available and
corporate teams encouraged!