Happy Tails from Room One

Cosmo & Chelsea (Cosmo & Elsie)
Win-win Adoptions from Room One


“Can I go in?” It was about four years ago. I was peeking in the window of HART’s Room One, a
sanctuary within the shelter for socially challenged cats. I was with Carmen Girard, a long-term HART
volunteer. She opened the door and I felt instant affection for the cats inside. Beautiful cats, healthy
and calm - just not anxious to come close. They looked up when we stepped inside. Carmen
began introducing me to each of them, stopping to tickle an ear or stroke a tail when the kitty allowed
it. By keeping my distance and remaining still, the cats began to hop on and off perches, showing off
amazing grace and stunning coats. I decided then that next time I needed cats, I was coming to
Room One.

Four years later, I returned to adopt two cats. Carmen was still volunteering and greeted me warmly. I
had been in contact with HART’s behaviorist and Director of Room One Adoptions, Sara Golden.
She invited me to meet a bonded pair she’d been working with: two 8-year old tuxedos named
Cosmo and Chelsea. They came to HART together in 2011, from an overcrowding situation in
Maine. Yes, that means they had been at HART for almost seven years.

A word about that. Room One is a godsend for shy cats. The open, no-cage environment of HART is
amazing, but not for every cat. Room One was created as a separate sanctuary within the shelter,
one room where shy cats can be isolated from overly playful or aggressive ones. After it’s inception,
adoptions of Room One cats stalled for several years. Enter cat whisperer, Sara Golden. She came
to HART with a socializing program that has done wonders for Room One cats. With the help of
dedicated volunteers, Sara’s program has calmed these cats naturally, to allow their adoptable
personalities to come out. And yes, Room One adoptions have begun. I’ve continued Sara’s games,
play exercises and floral essences drops at home and find them all most effective.

We brought Cosmo and Chelsea home just before Christmas. Per Sara’s instructions, we closed off
our living room as a separate sanctuary for them. After a week, we opened the door and they’ve
been happy members of our household ever since. Cosmo and Chelsea aren’t touching us yet and
may not for a long time. That’s okay. Every day they become more comfortable and that’s all we ask
of them. Not moving when we walk by, Giving us those squinty eyewinks from across the room when

they’re taking naps. Physical contact will come in time, on their terms and that’s fine with us. We
can’t imagine all they have to process and acclimate to. Men, shadows, snow falling, squirrels,
running water and television all fascinate them. Cosmo is dying to meet the cat in the mirror and once
stood on his hind legs to get a better look at the president on cable news.

Cosmo and Chelsea are extremely polite cats. They haven’t damaged anything and simply knocking
something over causes pained looks of regret in their sweet faces. On the second day they were
here, I asked Chelsea once not to nibble the plants and they haven’t been touched since. It’s been
like adopting two foreign children, who are always on their best behavior, and who can’t quite
communicate with us yet. The only noise they make is a cry when they’re looking for one another and
they both chirp while running around.

Oh, how they run! We have 3 stories of carpeted stairs and a back staircase connecting all floors.
Cosmo and Chelsea run up and down the stairs, around the house and back up and down the
stairs, over and over again. We’re concerned they going to throw out a hip taking corners and sliding
across hardwood floors. Cosmo is a big cat and can leap amazing distances with no effort.
Chelsea, at least five pounds lighter, is a tireless instigator of rumbles and chases, often riding
Cosmo down the stairs seemingly laughing all they way. Somehow equally matched, they’re having
the time of their lives. And so are we.]

Contact Sara Golden for info on Room One adoptions. Don’t be put off by her requests for you to
come in for several visits before sending Room One kitties home with you. She may also request a
home visit. Years of work have gone into calming and socializing Room One cats. HART wants to do
their best to guarantee a good match. To be returned to the shelter would be devastating for any cat,
but especially for those from Room One. It’s worth it – the support of the HART staff has been
amazing throughout our adoption process and continues even to this day. Do you know HART
volunteers stop by regularly to visit Cosmo & Chelsea? How cool is that. Now we’re all friends. It’s a
win-win to adopt from Room One!

--- Claire April 2018