It has been a couple of months since our last Milly update and we’re happy to report that she’s made even more positive progress since then. In case you haven’t been keeping up with Milly’s story, the essence of it is that in January she was abandoned in a cardboard box in front of the cafe. She was absolutely terrified and it was obvious that she couldn’t stay in the cafe; she was far too hostile and needed lots of time and patience to make her feel secure in herself.
She has since been living with Abbie and Redd, who have been wonderful in gradually bringing Milly out of her shell. Last time we checked in, Milly was only just comfortable enough to be stroked by Abbie and tolerated being picked up by Redd, but even this progress was a colossal improvement on her initial temperament.
Milly's rehabilitation and socialisation
Since then, she’s come along even further in leaps and bounds! She’s really started to show her personality and little quirks; she even loves attention from humans now which seemed impossible when we first met her. We’ve been told that she’s great at communicating with her temporary carers and her primary method for this is a ‘burr’ noise - a small burr for attention and a firm burr when she dislikes something. Abbie has told us that when she makes the same noise back at Milly they can have a whole conversation made up of burrs!
It’s not just her vocals that have blossomed, either - when she first arrived at the cafe she pretty much refused to eat, and even at her foster home she would only eat a tiny amount of dry food when she was alone. Well, as her confidence grew, it seemed her appetite did too. She’s started to love gravy-based wet food, and once even ate three pouches in one day! This was a great sign, as Milly’s frame is extremely small and light - she could definitely use the extra food to give her strength and nutrition.
Another big milestone that showed her growth in confidence was her willingness to curl up and sleep in close proximity to humans. The first time that she snuggled up to Abbie and shared her blanket for a snooze was a huge shock - the fact that she is ready to be so vulnerable around people is an excellent tell that she’s really regained her ability to trust. Since then, she’s even been known to hop up on Abbie and Redd’s bed for some cuddles, and even likes to sleep on a blanket in the bedroom with them.
As Milly has become more extroverted, she hasn’t been shy in showing Abbie and Redd her likes and dislikes. Although she’s now fine with receiving attention and affection from humans, it’s become evident that she doesn’t care for playing with them. In fact, her favourite game is one she plays alone: hunting hair bobbles. Apparently most mornings the floor would be littered with them, and any attempts to tidy them away or hide them were futile: she would dive into the laundry basket to find them, or even try to bite the one from Abbie’s ponytail! Don’t worry though: Abbie’s well aware of the hazards these items pose and Milly never tried to eat them - just play!
As discussed in the last blog post, Milly definitely seemed to prefer men to women from the get-go, and let Redd touch her before Abbie. This definitely continued during her time in their home - she quickly became infatuated and really started to crave his attention! Even when Redd would be otherwise occupied and playing video games, she would often lay across his hands when he was trying to use a controller. She’d even place a gentle paw on him as if to remind him that it was time for him to direct his attention to her! However, she really did start to warm up to Abbie as well, and really liked her longer nails for scratches on her cheeks and tail. She would often wake Abbie up by headbutting her hand to beg for some cuddles, and even enjoyed having her tummy stroked.
Some of Milly’s dislikes also became pretty apparent. For instance, she hated having her flea treatment and would be once again very distant for the whole evening after it had been given to her. However, the next day she was always back to her chirpy self, ready for some cuddles and content to sit with Abbie and watch The Great British Bake-Off together.
Although she’s grown so much in confidence, she still has timid tendencies and would get quite spooked when anyone tried to engage in playtime with her, although she would calm down again with verbal reassurance. Understanding her likes and dislikes was integral to gaining her trust, as it allowed Abbie and Redd to minimise anything that would cause her any extra anxiety.
What's next for Milly?
Although Abbie and Redd did an incredible job of making her feel safe and happy again, their flat just wouldn’t have been suitable for a forever home; we’re all quite certain that she had outdoor access before she was abandoned, so keeping her inside wouldn’t be fair. Even inside of the flat, she was drawn to a stone window ledge where she would sit to enjoy the breeze, gaze at the outside world and chirp at the pigeons. Because of Milly’s very specific requirements for her forever home, we didn’t receive any suitable adoption enquiries through our social media channels.
We definitely didn’t want Milly’s next venture to be anywhere unsuitable, so Chief Cat Carer Laura discovered Wadars, a no-kill animal rescue charity based in Worthing, to be the best place to fit her needs for now. She has her own outdoor enclosure with plenty of shelves and places to hide, which seems to suit her perfectly. She’s even away from the main cattery (where people are volunteering daily) in order to minimise her contact with humans, which should really help her to trust her new surroundings. The enclosure itself is surrounded with plants to conserve her privacy and prevent any other creatures bothering her; Wadars also were able to give Milly her first official vet visit and spay her as well, which was greatly appreciated.
Although Abbie and Redd definitely miss her cheeky presence in their lives, they’re both overjoyed with the conditions of her new temporary home and feel it suits her down to the ground. Because she lives by the sea now, they picked out a tiny multi-coloured shell to remember her by. However, it seems like Milly gave them both a farewell gift, too - when the day came to taking her to her new home, she could sense a change coming and understandably got a little freaked out. Although she was totally calm for the whole two hour drive, Abbie and Redd are now both sporting scratches from Milly’s final feisty moment with them. Abbie has discovered that her scratch looks like a smiley face, though - maybe there was some love behind it after all!
We wish Milly the best of luck in her new temporary home. We’ll be notified when she does end up being homed, but until then we’re so glad to know that she’ll be staying somewhere she’ll be happy and comfortable. Finally, thank you so much to Abbie and Redd for being such wonderful carers to Milly for so long! It definitely wasn’t an easy task and the care and patience they provided has meant that Milly can finally leave behind her traumatic past and move forward towards a bright, beautiful future.