7 min read

Cat Cries When He's Not Being Held — So Shelter Staff Gets Creative

“He's being spoiled, and he deserves it!”

Cats can get a bad rap for being antisocial. But not Dougie.

Dougie loves to snuggle — like, all the time.

And the senior shelter cat is certainly not shy when it comes to demanding what he wants.

Ashley Perkins

When the 15-year-old orange tabby arrived at Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (ARL) in early June, he was in bad shape. Suffering from feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the shelter staff had to work overtime to get him the medical care he so desperately needed.

After months of treatment, Dougie finally became strong and healthy enough to start looking for a new home. By then, the shelter staff had become quite familiar with Dougie’s adorable quirk.

“He is incredibly social, and very people-motivated,” Jeana Roth, director of community engagement, tells The Dodo. “He always wants to be near the people around him, and meows until he gets affection and attention.”

Ashley Perkins

Dougie’s need to be cuddled had, in fact, become something of an enjoyable nuisance to the shelter staff, who would continually have to stop the tasks they were doing to hold Dougie — or else be forced to listen to his friendly, no-nonsense meows. “Dougie is very vocal in his need for attention. If he wasn’t held, or being petted, he would let you know,” Roth says.

When the time came to move Dougie to the adoption floor, the staff had come up with the perfect way to showcase the senior cat’s unique personality. They posted a photo to Facebook showing Dougie snuggled up in a BabyBjörn worn by one of his favorite pals at the shelter.

When he’s not being held, Dougie’s meow can be heard from galaxies far away. So, we thought creatively and decided a BabyBjörn allowed Robert to both hold Dougie and do his job effectively,” the post read. “And, we think it’s pretty much the cutest thing we’ve seen, ever.”

Social media users couldn’t agree more, and the post quickly racked up likes and shares. However, Dougie remained uninterested in his newfound viral fame, as he had already met his future mom — a social worker named Ashley Perkins.

“I was looking for a friend for my cat Jax, and there was Dougie,” Perkins tells The Dodo. “Once we saw his age, and his personality type, I knew he was probably going to be a top contender to come home.”

Ashley traveled to ARL, met Dougie, and brought him home the very next day — snuggled in a baby wrap.

Now installed in his new home in Springvale, Maine, Dougie continues to demand the attention he deserves from both cat and human, alike. “He and Jax have already bonded and they kiss each other and play frequently,” Perkins says. “Dougie wakes me up every day by meowing and patting my face with his paw for snuggle time and his breakfast. If you stop petting him, he will meow to remind you that he wasn't done with the petting yet.”

Ashley Perkins

While Dougie still has to take medication twice daily for his digestive condition, he is gaining weight and relishing his new mom’s love and attention. Luckily, the feelings are mutual. “I love spending time with my newest little man,” Perkins adds. “He is so full of love and it is impossible not to be smitten with him!”

The friendly feline has even kept in touch with his pals from Animal Rescue League, who regularly check up on their favorite old man to see how he’s doing.

With his hard years behind him, Dougie now has a home and a family he can call his own.

“I always want to take home older cats when I can. They have so much love to give and need us just as much or more than the younger cats,” Perkins says. “I feel like older cats and dogs have a much harder time finding homes sometimes, but they … deserve to live out the rest of their lives well-cared for and loved.”

“That's what I want for Dougie,” she says. “He's being spoiled, and he deserves it!”