A low moment for a shelter cat in the United Kingdom has turned into a blessing in disguise for the long-haired tabby.
The staff at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London decided to throw a party on Valentine’s Day for Monique, celebrating both her second birthday and marking the fact that she’d spent more than 100 days at the shelter waiting for someone to adopt her. Battersea staff hoped the event would draw some attention, and possibly a home.
But no one showed up.
Don’t worry ― Monique seems to have had a nice time anyway, despite the lack of guests from outside the shelter.
“We were disappointed that Monique’s birthday didn’t attract any potential new owners but our staff and volunteers were of course more than happy to pop in to give the birthday girl a bit of a fuss — she got a LOT of cheek rubs that day,” Battersea spokesperson Nikki Cummins told The Dodo.
And even better, the sad sight of Monique having a party for one went viral, leading to loads of interest in the sweet and affectionate cat.
“Monique is blissfully unaware of her new found fame but the rest of us have been thrilled and overwhelmed by the response to her story,” Cummins told HuffPost in an email.
As of Thursday, Monique ― now at 121 days in the shelter ― had still not been placed. But Cummins noted that the shelter is “optimistic” and has received “lots of enquiries and nice messages.”
Battersea suspects a big reason Monique has remained at the shelter for such a long time is that she tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, a slow-acting virus similar to HIV in humans, although FIV cannot be transmitted to people.
Battersea notes in Monique’s online bio that most cats with FIV live “long, happy and healthy lives.” To keep her from spreading the virus, they are requiring adopters to ensure any outdoor access is cat-proofed and asking that she be the only cat in her household. (That said, because FIV is spread primarily via biting, many veterinary experts say FIV-positive cats are unlikely to spread the virus to other cats in their household, provided the cats do not fight.)
While Monique has gotten international attention, Cummins advised that people located anywhere that would require long-distance travel from Battersea ― which would be stressful for Monique ― look locally for a new furry friend.
“We would encourage people outside the UK to consider adopting an animal in need slightly closer to home instead,” she said. “There are lots of wonderful animals waiting at rescue shelters for someone to take them home.”
And in the meantime, the solo birthday girl is doing just fine.
“Although she would love to be in a home of her own, Monique is currently content spending quality time with our staff and volunteers and keeping an eye on everything from her perch until the right home can be found,” said Cummins.