Rescuers helped a little scaredy kitten learn to trust through lots of "purrito" cuddles.
Nikki Martinez, a rescuer based in Las Vegas, took in a very timid kitten rescued through a TNR (trap-neuter-return) project. She was found along with other kittens from a cat colony, and was the shyest of all.
Whenever Nikki tried to reach out to her, the kitten would hiss and swat with all her might. Other kittens quickly adjusted to the indoor life, but this little feisty one (named Sugar) needed a lot more work.
To help Sugar get used to human contact, Nikki began giving her cuddle sessions throughout the day.
She carefully wrapped the kitten in a soft blanket like a "purrito", gently pat her on the back to soothe her.
Sugar was very anxious and scared, staring up at her foster mom. Nikki would offer some wet food by hand to help with the socialization.
"I use (wet food and treats) as a tool. I want her to associate happy things with being in my presence," Nikki shared with Love Meow.
Slowly but surely, Sugar began to calm down with less fearful stares or sudden swats. After a few weeks of intense cuddles, patience and hard work, the kitten finally had a breakthrough.
"For weeks, she sat under a table, scared, refusing to even look at me and petrified if I even came in the room. For the first time, she played with me," Nikki said.
The next day, Sugar even came out of her hiding spot to play with her foster mom. Nikki was overjoyed by how far she had come.
"Working with a shy or hissy kitty and wanting to do right by them is harder than it sounds. I've had lots of hard nuts to crack over the years, but she really made me work!"
Sugar was still a bit skittish, and would run and hide if someone walked in the room.
To help her gain confidence, Nikki continued to shower her with love and cuddles, giving her all the attention she needed to get over her fear.
Watch Sugar and her journey in this cute video:
"Since she got nervous and ran when I approached her, I wanted every interaction with her to be positive," Nikki shared with Love Meow.
"I wanted to get to the point when my hand approaching her didn't scare her, and eventually she would seek me for attention."
Sugar grew a bit braver and more eager for affection each day.
Two weeks later, she was purring aloud in Nikki's arms while enjoying chin scratches. It was then they knew she was ready for her next chapter in life.
A family fell in love with Sugar even when she was still a scaredy, hissy kitty. Despite her tough exterior, they saw the potential.
"She is in the arms of her wonderful new parents! They are perfect for her," Nikki said. "Her new family is so patient and sweet, they are going to continue to work with her to allow her to blossom."
Sugar is no longer that scaredy cat that Nikki rescued from the street.
She is getting to know her two new feline sisters and enjoying her time being loved and spoiled.