Hubertus and Joey’s 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months journey with us begins with – soul cat Flix. Flix had prepared – “prepawed,” to be precise – everything perfectly. A few weeks after his death in June 2021, he told me – via animal communication – that new soul cats who needed help were already there. I didn’t understand anything at first.
But very soon, I did. I observed myself offering help to senior cats in need. There were a lot of animals that required assistance in July 2021 because of the flood in Germany.
Flix’s legacy: Hubertus and Joey
Hubertus and Joey were already in trouble before the flood occurred in their region. Their human guardian, an elderly lady, was hospitalized due to a severe illness, and it was soon apparent that she would not come back. Hubertus, still called “Hueby” at this time, 16, a European house cat, and Joey, 11, a British longhair cat, were alone at home. An animal rescuer with lots of obligations took care of them. However, they were on their own most of the time, for weeks.
Tanja Fey, the leader of an animal rescue organization in the flood area I already knew, saw my offer and contacted me right away. Yes, two senior cats needed help. Hueby and Joey. No, not a foster home. Ideally, she needed a forever home for them. Due to the flood disaster, all foster homes in the region were fully occupied or did not exist any longer.
Those of you who know me in person know that I am a quick decision-maker if something feels right for me. And this felt right from the very beginning. I had contacted both of them and already felt how much the two boys were traumatized and required help. Help I could provide for them. And I also felt a special connection right away.
I contacted Flix again to double-check if he had these two senior cats in mind. Yes, that’s right. Go, get them. Said and done.
We picked them up on the following Saturday, July 24, 2021. And our story began. First, it’s our story of the first three days, three weeks, and three months. The rule of 3 is a golden adoption rule for rescued cats. I initially wrote this blog post after the first three months they lived with us in their forever home.
Here you go, my rule of 3 experience with Hubertus and Joey:
For the first three days – it’s only safe under the sink.
Both cats lived their entire lives with their previous human guardian, an elderly lady. In addition to their trauma due to the loss of their human and home, it became more stressful for them before it could get better. They had to go into their cat carriers, and they had to leave their previous home. And on top of that, they had to stand a two-hour drive in the car. They were overwhelmed and exhausted when we arrived home in the afternoon.
However, the trip was uneventful, without any problems. Both cats were sleeping the entire time. Arrived home, we put their cat carriers in the middle of the hallway so they could see a lot. Then, we opened them. They both sat at the back corner of their cat carriers and were very anxious. That’s where they stayed for the first hour.
Then, I offered them treats and some cat cream, which they hesitantly accepted. Slowly they turned around in their boxes and looked at their new surroundings. After a while, when none of us were around, Joey came out. I couldn’t find him at first, and then, you won’t believe it, he was sitting under the kitchen sink. Hubertus was still in the box. Another hour later, he came out too. Of course, he also disappeared under the sink where his friend was.
I left them where they were sitting. They needed to arrive first. Everything was new to them. Strangers took them out of their home, they had to be in the car for two hours, and now, they were in a new, strange place with these two strange humans. Being overwhelmed and hiding first was a natural behavior.
We experienced all the attributes often described for those first three days of adoption. How did they feel? Extremely insecure, fearful, sensitive to noise, always in hiding mode, hardly eating or drinking anything. Their true nature? We didn’t get to see their true personality for the next few weeks. And that is precisely what is “normal” in such an adoption process.
I served them their food under the sink for the first few days. They ate tiny quantities, but they ate something, and that was good. I offered different variations of wet food to figure out what they liked to eat—coming out and drinking? Not a chance. So, I also provided water and cat soups under the sink—also various kinds of treats.
This way, they could slowly get used to our routines. Who was coming into the kitchen and when? When did the humans provide food and treats? All these steps happened regularly. Small steps for us. Giant steps for them.
They didn’t use any of their litter boxes during the first night. And not the next day. I started to get worried. Really worried. But they used their litter boxes during the second night! Yeah! What a relief! Again, a huge step forward!
These days, some well-intentioned advice was, “when they come out of the sink, you should close the door under the sink right away.” Of course, I did not. Why? I would have immediately sabotaged their first steps of safely exploring their new home and destroyed their slowly growing confidence. So, I kept this door open in the future. Whenever they needed to hide for a while, that was their place to go. Why would I not allow them to be there, as it was apparent how important this hiding place was.
The success after three days?
The essential functions, eating, drinking, and using their litter boxes, got back into their rhythm. We could build on that. These steps might seem small for some of you. However, these steps were massive for traumatized cats, who lost everything that defined their lives so far.
The first three weeks – checking, understanding, realizing.
Hubertus was the braver one and, as it turned out, the boss cat. He first dared to get out of the sink in daylight. On day 5, the time had come: he dared to get out in a cautious, crouched position and started to explore everything. First, he went into the living room, onto the sofa, and into the furthest corner of a shelf. This also gave him a sense of security. Joey continued to stay in the sink; his look was still fearful. He let Hubertus check out everything first.
Touching? That was almost impossible. I didn’t push it either. They would let me know, in divine right timing. And that’s precisely how it was.
In the first week, I started with animal communication and energy clearing work with an Advanced Auric Clearing. I wanted to welcome them into their new forever home. It was about clearing all the energetic blockages they had built in their entire energy field due to the extreme trauma they had experienced.
They both perceived the clearing as something new they found pleasant. It was also another confidence-building activity. They realized that good things were happening to help them. This first step was essential before getting into the actual trauma clearing work.
Then, as with Flix during his last months, I asked my friend Martina to talk to them. I wanted to offer them a neutral person to build a relationship with. This way, I opened a channel for them to openly articulate themselves and express things they would not necessarily share with me.
These three weeks were very intense. Hubertus was very interested in my work and often visited me in my study. On the desk, in front of the keyboard, or on the keyboard. And, of course, he also attended some of my video calls.
Meanwhile, Joey dared to come out and have a look. But then he was bothered by the open staircase. It scared him so much that he literally went “backward” right away, back under the sink. He explained to Martina that these stairs were a highly unsafe construct and far too dangerous. She convinced him to take small steps, make it “his” project, and then show Hubertus how to do it properly, walking on the stairs. He set to work a few days later. It was beautiful to watch him work out the “stairs” project step by step. Hubertus followed him up the stairs a little later, and Joey had conquered something all to himself. That was very important to him, and he built a lot of confidence this way. They were not used to any stairs until now.
Then, life continued, and my older sister passed away. Not, that was not to be expected at all. I had to travel for her funeral. It was vital for me to be present at the funeral and catch up with my relatives. Of course, it was another challenge for Hubertus and Joey. And all of this happened in their first three weeks in their new forever home. It was a real challenge for me as well.
They noticed right away that something had happened. They noticed my grief. It was essential to prepare the boys to be able to cope with Michael alone, their #catdad, for a few days.
At the same time, I cleared their past trauma (death of their human and losing their home). There was a lot to clear. Five weeks alone in complete uncertainty regarding their human had traumatized them greatly. And then the relocation to us, new human guardians, and a new home. It was a lot to process for them.
They managed the days with #catdad very well. This also allowed them to form closer bonds with Michael. In the end, it was a positive experience for everyone involved. The trip was essential for me, too. I could better deal with my sister’s death, and I came back in a much better condition.
What did we achieve after the first three weeks?
Towards the end of the first three weeks, Hubertus and Joey bravely explored their new home outside their “sink” hiding place. They have conquered most of their new home, developing their preferences. They started to actively engage with us as their new humans, and they consciously spent time with us.
First attempts to play were also lovely to see. We checked out what toys they liked. The activity feeder for treats became an exciting thing. They learned our routines, and we developed new habits together. They have shown more clearly what food they liked. Also, the switch to high-quality wet food has been surprisingly easy.
They both allowed and even demanded to be touched and stroked. Both have clearly signaled that we can be good friends, and they have embraced the idea that they now have a forever home with us.
The first three months-They have arrived.
After the first twelve weeks, we were in the final stretch of the three days, three weeks, and three months principle. For Hubertus and Joey, the arrival and integration phase was already emotionally completed. Even though everything was still slightly fragile, we could establish a strong emotional bond. We were building on this. And they learned that we would discuss every change with them in advance. And they knew that they were always well prepared, energetically and with animal communication.
There were two more challenges to overcome. One was the renovation of our loggia. Both were hiding under the sink during these two days as this was their first and best hiding place. OK, they are allowed to do that. This place gave them protection and security. As soon as the work was finished and the craftsmen left, they came out again and took over the reins in their new home.
The other challenge was a one-week trip I had planned for a while. We were planning to move to North Germany. And there was a lot to check out and coordinate to find our new home. Both cats did great during this week with their #catdad. He was a bit stressed, but the three of them again used the time to strengthen their bond. I connected with both cats every night and “listened in” to how they were doing and feeling. It always felt good. They built up a lot of trust in that short time and showed a lot of courage.
And I found a beautiful house that I wanted to show Michael. As soon as possible. And that required another trip with their first night alone. Something we prepared very well. I explained it to them, and also Martina communicated with them and explained every little detail.
A dear neighbor, Sabine, who used to have cats herself, took care of our boys. She spent time with them during the week before our trip and got to know them. She also prepared food for them whenever she visited us. Her loving and calm manner made it easy for them to trust her.
However, Joey became very nervous. A few days before we left, he started vomiting—night after night. I had to stabilize him and re-establish trust before examining what was potentially going on. He got an auric clearing first, and as to be expected: his solar plexus was totally blocked. I first cleared these blockages. I also spoke with my vet, and she suggested administering a small dose of cortisone now until we would be back to keep him stable and then switching to TCM tablets if needed. I booked an appointment right away for the week after our trip to check his blood work and perform an ultrasound if necessary.
He recovered pretty well until the end of the week when we left for our short trip. Our cat sitter took super loving care of both. And they have built trust and even started playing with her. I was so happy when I got Sabine’s messages and pictures of my happy playing cats.
As soon as we were back, a new cat tree was delivered. They had both conquered the big ceiling cat tree by now. That was great. However, Flix’s small senior cat tree in front of the balcony window was too small. It was perfect for Flix and Howy, two smaller tomcats. So, I bought a new cat tree, and an animal shelter enjoyed the old one. As soon as we assembled the new cat tree, they stood in front of it and couldn’t believe it. I never saw bigger cat eyes! However, it took a few days until they made the new cat tree their own. But then they loved to sit there and watch cat TV, our resident squirrels, and the two wild pigeons on the balcony.
What did we achieve after the first twelve weeks?
They have arrived emotionally, moved freely throughout their new home, developed their own routines, and discovered favorite places for themselves. They started cuddling with us in the evenings, playing habits had been established, and even Joey was beginning to play with the fishing rod.
Our relationships with both cats became closer. We already mastered a couple of challenges that helped deepen the bond between us. Hubertus has been very attached to me from the beginning, and Joey has slowly and gently approached both of us. He then started to develop bonds with his #catdad. It was touching to watch Joey creating important tasks for himself. He declared himself responsible for bringing us to bed at night and waking us up in the morning. That became his most important task, and he was very serious about it. And he is still doing it today.
Hubertus started to spend a lot of time with me in my study, helping me with my work. If he thinks he has to interfere, he likes to show himself in a zoom call. I continued working energetically with them regularly. They could overcome most of their traumas of losing their previous human guardian and home.
Their new life has begun, and they have started having fun and enjoying their cat life again. What did Hubertus say when we came back from our short trip?
“It is most beautiful when we are all together as a family.”
That’s exactly how it is.
Now, it’s mid of April 2022. Hubertus and Joey are living with us for nine months. I couldn’t be more proud of them and happier about all that evolved since we adopted them. In the meantime, they both got a complete vet check-up, Joey needed a tooth restoration, and Hubertus developed thyroid issues that had to be treated. In February, ten weeks ago, they moved together with us to North Germany. Another big project. Stay tuned; I will share what we experienced and learned during our move soon.
Text and pictures:
© Tamara Schenk | Soul Cats
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