Shelter Refuses to Give Up on Shy and Shutdown Cat Labeled ‘Un-adoptable’


Staff at an animal shelter in Canada are refusing to give up on a cat once labeled “un-adoptable”—and they have already had a breakthrough.

The story of Boo, the domestic short hair, first came to light after Toronto Cat Rescue KW shared a clip of the mostly white feline to TikTok this week. It explained how Boo had been “at risk of euthanasia” before coming into its care. “His previous shelter deemed him ‘un-adoptable,'” an onscreen caption said. “We weren’t ready to give up on him.”

“Boo was transferred from a local humane society who were unable to manage his care due to his shy temperament,” Nalini Ramroop from Toronto Cat Rescue told Newsweek. “Cats like Boo struggle in the rescue system due to their high needs. They require a patient and experienced adopter or ardent cat lover who will continue the socialization work they need.”

Ramroop is not sure how close Boo came to being euthanized.

“We are unsure what the shelter euthanasia rates are but it’s safe to say that without rescue transfer, cats like Boo are at more imminent risk of euthanasia due to lack of resources in the shelter,” she said.

Ramroop is keen to stress that Ontario is a “progressive province” when it comes to animal welfare though.

“Shelters don’t want to euthanize but if the cat is left in the stressful environment, they get sick beyond what the shelter can manage,” she said. “That’s generally the reason for euthanasia – it’s a lack of capacity for care, not due to space.”

In the case of Boo, Ramroop added that there was a specific reason why there had previously been concerns he was “un-adoptable” since “Boo is really shy and shut down.”

Boo the cat struggled at his last shelter. He’s faring better as a foster now though.

Toronto Cat Rescue

That can pose a problem in a shelter environment where, according to one study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science in 2014, visitors tend to interact with just one pet per visit and these interactions last an average of just eight minutes.

“In the shelter, he won’t show well and will get overlooked by adopters who are generally looking for ‘easier’ cases or friendly pets,” Ramroop surmised.

That’s why Toronto Cat Rescue felt better equipped to help Boo since it is a foster-based organization that helps rescue cats land life-changing stays with carers across the region.

Ramroop always felt confident Boo would “really thrive” in a foster home since “he’s not fractious or feral.” She added: “He just needs time and patience.”

Having arrived at Toronto Cat Rescue back in August, over the last few months there has already been a significant change in Boo.

“Boo’s foster is experienced in cat socialization,” Ramroop said. “Over time, he decompressed and started opening up to trusting humans.”

Boo the rescue cat is doing okay.
Boo the cat has come out of his shell. A foster carer has helped him gain confidence.

Toronto Cat Rescue

Though Boo is, sadly, far from an isolated case for Toronto Cat Rescue, his story shows how the “un-adoptable” can be transformed with patience and care. Now the focus is on landing Boo the forever home he so richly deserves.

Ramroop already has an idea of what that might look like.

“Boo would love a quiet home with no kids. He is fine with other cats,” she said. “He also requires a patient adopter who is willing to give him all the time and space he needs to acclimate to the new home. Generally cats like Boo, once they open up, form a very close bond with their caregiver.”

Toronto Cat Rescue believed in Boo. Now they just need someone else too as well.