Shy shelter cats form beautiful, unbreakable bond

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As humans, we belong to many different groups that help give us purpose, such as family, school, work and clubs. For pets, it is enough to simply belong to their favorite person - for we are their purpose.

Unfortunately, some animals arrive at Palmetto Animal League too frightened of humans to form that kind of lifelong bond immediately. Our job is to earn their trust and prove to them that we are worthy of it.

During this transition, fearful animals often retreat to a safe spot at the PAL Adoption Center, either high up on a shelf or huddled in a corner or inside one of our kitty condos.

That's exactly what a kitten named Harlem did. Having been at PAL since a tiny kitten, Harlem was adopted, only to be returned a short time later.

"Harlem was always a shy cat, but when he came back from his first home, he had a hard time adjusting," says PAL visitor relations specialist Sally Dawkins. "He did not want anyone around him."

After a few weeks of living a self-imposed exile inside PAL President Amy Campanini's desk drawer, Harlem's life was about to change forever. A feral cat named Bane was brought to PAL with a badly broken leg that required surgery. Bane was brought to Amy's office for some peace and quiet.

Eventually, Harlem's curiosity got the best of him and he started emerging from Amy's desk drawer daily to peer into Bane's kitty condo and "talk" to him.

One day Amy opened Bane's condo and Harlem jumped right in. Finding comfort in one another, Harlem and Bane became fast friends and they are now inseparable.

"They are two bodies, but one cat," said Campanini. "Their bond is special and rare and a beautiful thing to witness. Harlem even convinced once-feral Bane that it's all right to tolerate humans."

Harlem and Bane took to running through the halls of the PAL Adoption Center, playing with toys and reaching under the cat room doors to play with other cats. Their lovable antics caught the eye of a visitor and now the duo will get to enjoy a true sense of belonging in a real home.

"We are so happy they got adopted together," says Dawkins. "They are each other's safety blankets. They belong together."

Unable to adopt? Take part in PAL's largest annual fundraiser benefitting hundreds of shelter pets like Harlem and Bane. The 10th Annual Bid for PAL Online Auction will take place from 8 a.m. April 25 through 10 p.m. April 28. Visit PALauction.org today and shop to save homeless pets.

Lindsay Perry is the marketing coordinator for Palmetto Animal League. PalmettoAnimal League.org

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