A few of you have been asking about Ernest, and we have news.
It was clear after giving Ernest a short holiday that he is an anxious little dear and that cafe life wasn't working for him. He has been in foster care over the Christmas and New Year period, is very chilled out, and is now ready to find his forever home with a new family.
We'd like to tell you a little bit about Ernest so you know what he's like. If you think he sounds like the guy for you, please fill in our application form and our cat care team will do their kitty matchmaking magic!
Our goal is always to find the ideal permanent home where your needs and Ernest's needs are taken into equal consideration. For this reason, we tend to take a long time to carry out a rehoming, so if you do apply, please be prepared for a process of a few weeks and quite a few friendly chats to get to know you better.
We believe that rehoming animals is the sort of thing that's best done once, and done right, so that you and Ernest can get on with becoming best friends for life.
What have we learned about Ernest in the cafe?
In the cafe, Ernest likes playing a great deal. He enjoys playing with the other cats, but some of our more assertive cats make him nervous.
He experienced loose stools quite often in the cafe, and always overnight. We were initially worried he had food allergies, or a medical condition, but after those possibilities were explored, it became clear it was a behavioural issue.
Consequently, Ernest was given a 2-week holiday with a foster carer so he could be more closely observed in a more controlled environment.
What have we learned about Ernest in foster care?
Ernest is quite needy and extraordinarily affectionate in foster care. He needs to be around people all the time - if you leave the room, he will start calling, asking where you are.
He likes to be tucked in.
In foster care we tried him on different diets and determined his bowel issues weren't affected by changes to food. However, we did notice that his bowel problems seemed to be most frequently triggered by the absence of a human caretaker. Given that, in the cafe, he would only have problems overnight when his caretakers had left, this was the most consistent pattern we had yet observed.
During his 2 week holiday, his foster carer fell ill and stayed home for five consecutive days with him. In this time he experienced 0 issues for the first time in a long time, which further confirmed the thought that he was experiencing some separation anxiety.
Ernest then returned to the cafe after 2 weeks holiday and his bowel problems resumed. We rapidly moved him into a more suitable foster home: a flat-share with multiple residents, to ensure he would always have someone around. He's been doing very well there with an extended human family to reassure him and keep him company throughout the days. They're away from time to time, but usually not for very long, and this seems to be meeting his needs nicely.
He is also interested in burgers.
What kind of home is best for Ernest?
Ernest would be great in an environment where someone is frequently home, and only leaves for short periods of time. He is very loving and likes to sit with his humans on the sofa, snuggle in their bed, and wanders about the house chirruping and chatting to himself. He would be great with a family, flatshare, freelance workers/work from home, or those who are housebound for other reasons but who still have the wherewithal and mobility to care for a young animal.
Ernest's disposition lends him very well toward being a therapy animal. If you are gentle and kind to him, he will be a very loyal friend.
He needs a good quality diet, but doesn't need medical/veterinary diet foods (he also doesn't need burgers, contrary to what he may tell you). We recommend Royal Canin Light for Ernest, but there are a number of other good foods out there and Laura, our Chief Cat Carer, is very informed and can advise prospective adopters about options.
Ernest is very playful and energetic, once settled, and he will need at least 30 minutes of engaging play every day. As with all cats, if Ernest doesn't get to play and be active when you're awake, he'll be full of beans and may come ask if you want to play when you're asleep!
Ernest has explored outdoor fenced gardens, but was very nervous and required supervision. He may gain confidence and enjoy being a partially out-door cat, but he doesn't have the disposition to be a fully outdoor cat. In short: if you don't wish to clean litter trays: Ernest is not for you. He is primarily an indoor cat and will look to you and your family as his primary source of enrichment and reassurance.
He can not be housed with high-energy children or animals, he would not cope and you'd have a challenge on your hands.
Ernest will take 2-3 weeks to fully settle. It will be important for his adopted family to not go away for extended periods of time during the initial settling period. He's a sensitive lad.
Does this sound like your ideal feline companion?
Fill in our Adoption Form and we'll be in touch to talk with you about Ernest joining your family.
We are going to miss Ernest terribly. He has a beautiful, gentle soul and a great deal of love to share. However, our remit is to always do best by each cat, even if it isn't what we want for ourselves. For this reason, we can't wait to find him the perfect home where he can begin a wonderful new life and bring happiness to a lucky family somewhere!