About 18 months ago, we received a stray cat who did NOT like people. We determined that he was a feral cat and would be best in an outdoor or barn home where he’d have little obligation to interact with humans. At that time, our ranch handyman, Josh noticed a lot of mice in his workshop in the barn. The decision was made that the black cat, whom we named Panther, would be Josh’s shop cat after he was neutered and vaccinated.

So began Panther’s life as a barn cat. He did help control the mice. We kept him fed and watered, and he sometimes could be spotted watching over the ranch. He’d hang out in the shop, around the dog den, by the storage shed, and sometimes he was not seen for a few days.

On January 26, staff heard meows coming from under the cat house. Credit to our wonderful staff for recognizing that the meows were not coming from one of the cats inside! Soon, this message was posted on our internal messaging board: “Panther managed to get himself stuck under the cat house. Not sure how he found a way in but not out. I have a trap set down here now. We’re trying to get him out.”

Turns out, the trap wasn’t necessary. When Cinda and Tara found an opening, he came right to them. He jumped up in Cinda’s lap and let her pet him. We had to scan the microchip to confirm that it was Panther. It was the new and improved Panther.

We like to think he peeked in the windows of the Cat Castle and thought, “Wow, look at those lucky cats! Those people are so nice to them, and they get petted and loved. It looks warm, too! I must try to find a way to get in there!”

As he settled into the life of an indoor cat, Panther seemed to shed all the traits of a barn cat. He used the litter box. He accepted treats. He became a lover of attention. He made friends with other cats. He purred and purred.

We have no idea why Panther made such a turnaround. But we’re so happy he did. This past weekend, he was adopted. We wish our formerly feral boy a wonderful life of love.

Cow is another cat who has changed during her stay with us. She was not a happy girl at first and would hiss at her caregivers and other cats. Now, she’s decided that people are not so bad, and she has started to play with other cats. She’s such a beauty, and her personality is starting to show.

For thirty years, the Animal Resource Center and Shops of Second Chance Humane Society have been serving Ouray, San Miguel, and Montrose Counties. Our adoption hours are from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can view our shelter pets and services online at www.secondchancehumane.org. Connecting Pets, People, and Community While Saving Lives.