Cat transforms from shy guy to snuggly sidekick

Grayson the cat lying on a blanket
Discover how one timid tabby found his confidence, proving that even the most reserved pets have a bright light inside.
By Christina London

There’s nothing quite like watching a shy pet come out of their shell, seeing them go from scared and depressed to enthusiastically living life. Case in point: Grayson.

Clouds of gray

This big tabby boy found his way to Best Friends through a shelter partner in Utah. Grayson’s past was mostly a mystery, but he had scars on his nose and an infected wound on his leg. The vet team’s first order of business was cleaning, treating, and bandaging up his leg.

Emotionally, Grayson was shy, scared, and understandably shut down. He had also stopped eating. But even in his most fearful moments, the staff could see the glimmer of sweetness in his eyes. Plus, he had the hugest, most squishable cheeks (even if he didn’t want them squished just yet).

[Shy cat gains confidence with a little help from a feline friend]

Grayson is a pet who could have easily been at risk of being killed in a shelter, especially if that shelter were already full and struggling to save healthy dogs and cats. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill in 2025, and that means supporting them with programs and partnerships that help pets and their people. In Grayson’s case, he needed veterinary care and to be matched up with a new home. So that’s what he got.

Here comes the sun

Staff wondered whether introducing Grayson to another cat could help. (If he wasn’t warming up to humans, maybe he could find comfort with another cat.) This became a turning point in his journey. Grayson flourished in the company of a feline friend, and his confidence began to grow.

To help him learn to trust people, Grayson went into foster care. With the patience and kindness of his foster volunteers, he began to come around. (He could deny it no more: Head scratches were pretty nice.) Before long, he couldn’t get enough love and affection.

In foster care, Grayson also discovered a love of toys — especially those of the feather variety. Most of all, he enjoyed the companionship of his foster cat buddies. Together, they'd play exciting games of hide-and-seek and spend lazy afternoons lounging in the sun.

[How a shy cat ended up with two feline brothers and a life fit for Instagram]

With his newfound self-confidence, Grayson transitioned to a new foster home. He fit in so well with his new foster family that he was invited to stay. The family officially adopted Grayson, and this sweet, snuggly guy was home for good.

Today, Grayson spends his days with his best friend, Bruce, a black-and-white kitty also adopted from Best Friends. He also loves his food; the only thing better than mealtime is the quality time he spends with his family. Grayson's story shows us that with a little time, care, and companionship, even the shyest souls can bloom.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

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