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If you’re happy and you know it, say meow

How do you find the perfect cat when you come to the Dumb Friends League? Well, in the case of Ashley and Ryan, when you know you want a talkative feline friend, you meow at every cat in the shelter and see who answers you back. And, when that cat is Dingo, you want to learn more.

Sweet Dingo, a 4-year-old grey Domestic Shorthair feline, was relinquished along with his brother, Steve when their owner was preparing to move and not able to take the cats he had cared for since they were kittens. League staff learned that Dingo did not show any aggressive behaviors, was friendly and loved a fun toy or two. Dingo and Steve spent their days playing, snuggling and spending time on their balcony happily watching the world. When a person (stranger or not) crossed his path, Dingo initiated attention and was happy to make a new friend.

Sometimes, change is hard. It would be so much easier if we could reason with animals and let them know they will find a new home with a loving family, but it doesn’t work that way, right? In Dingo’s case, his sudden move to the Buddy Center, where life was different and unknown despite being loved and cared for by all who met him, his behaviors manifested in some less-than-desirable ways. Let’s just say that hissing became his primary mode of communication with growling as a close second, and he was quite vocal about his situation.

Dingo enrolled in the League’s Feline Fortitude Behavioral program, which uses positive reinforcement training to help cats overcome challenges such as fear, overstimulation, body handling issues or frustration. And, after the initial sessions, the vocal cat had his sessions extended, but that’s OK because sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get the hang of things. One day, things clicked, and Dingo not only allowed pets, but he welcomed them. He became relaxed and was back to soliciting attention. What a breakthrough! The feisty feline came to the front of the kennel when a staff member approached and did some gentle head bumps. Dingo was engaged in chasing a feather toy because, well, feather toy and cat, and while he eventually concentrated more on looking out the window, his hisses turned to meows, and he was ready to find his forever family.

When Ashley and Ryan were looking for a cat, the two researched local adoption centers, and after reviewing the League’s website and Instagram page, they knew just where to go for a new friend. The couple was intrigued with Dingo’s biography of:
Favorite things: Pets on his head and back, chasing his feather toy, looking out the window.
Special features: This friendly feline will solicit attention from strangers! Seems to understand “no.” Would do best with kids 12+ and no furry siblings.
Dream home: A forever home where he can lounge by the window, taking it all in!

“The bio description labeled Dingo as a confident kitty,” said Ashley, “and we liked that he seemed to be active with a big personality.”

The fact that Dingo was a chatty kitty, which is just what Ashley and Ryan hoped for, made him a strong candidate for adoption, but when they met and Dingo jumped out of his kennel and onto Ashley’s shoulders, that was the moment the couple knew he was coming home with them.

One of the League’s experienced adoptions counselors met with Ashley and Ryan to review Dingo’s history. “Everyone at the facility discussed at length that Dingo was labeled an ‘overstimulated’ kitty,” said Ashley. “We met with a behavioral specialist to make sure we understood Dingo’s special needs and possible reactions to his new home. It was wonderful to see the support the animals and their new parents receive.”

While Ashley and Ryan worried Dingo was going to hide and stay away from them for a bit, he promptly explored the entire apartment and demanded cuddles that first night. It seemed that Dingo knew he was home and immediately wanted to settle into his new life.

Some might say that Dingo more than settled. The cat who was prone to unpleasant cat chatter is now living his best life.
“Dingo loves to sing ‘If you’re happy and you know it, say meow’ and take walks outside,” said Ashley. “Dingo is learning to love his travel backpack through positive reinforcements. He has mastered sit, touch, fist bump and high five. His favorite movie is Revenge of Kitty Galore. We share a common love for sunflowers, though Dingo prefers to eat them.”

Dingo has made friends with a neighborhood squirrel—although maybe it’s the loose definition of “friends.” The bushy-tailed rodent runs back and forth outside the window, tormenting Dingo until their playdates end with Dingo running into the window. Fortunately, Dingo has a less adversarial relationship with guests, who he eagerly greets, and the apartment’s maintenance man who he shares “conversations” with via meows back and forth.

“Dingo does have his overstimulated moments,” said Ashley. “We try to evaluate what causes him to be upset. Sometimes, he just needs more play, outside time or his litter changed early. There’s a theme song we like to sing, ‘You’re not a bad cat, you’re just misunderstood’ from a show.”

Turns out Dingo is part adventure cat. Ashley explained, “Our very confident kitty has only been grounded once. He decided to go exploring on the roof while his parents were sleeping. I found him trying to sneak back through the screen he broke in the morning. His five-minute ‘punishment’ consisted of me holding him close while freaking out.” Kids will be kids and push boundaries … no matter their species!

The sweet cat who loves spending time with his parents, meeting new people, playing, singing and eating string beans (yes, string beans) is truly the furball of his parent’s eyes.

“We are so thankful to have Dingo be a part of our little family,” said Ashley. “He brings so much love and laughter into our lives.”

To learn more about pets available for adoption at the League, visit our adoptions page or call 303.751.5772. All adoptions include spay or neuter surgeries, age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip ID, 30 days of free pet insurance and a free wellness visit with a participating veterinarian.

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