Shadow Cat Program

The Oakville & Milton Humane Society frequently receives many shy or nervous cats that struggle to adapt to the shelter environment. They may have come from any number of difficult situations that have played a role in shaping their timid personality. Unfortunately, shy, nervous, fearful, or under-socialized cats can be overlooked by adopters because they tend to hide and spend most of their time at the back of their kennels. We call these particular types of cats “Shadow Cats” based on their tendency to want to hide in the “shadows.”

Who should adopt a Shadow Cat?

Shadow cats do best in quiet, patient homes that are able and willing to provide them with lots of time, space, and socialization. Some shadow cats may not be used to living inside a home, or may have never experienced kindness from a human before. Others may just need to get out of the shelter environment in order to feel calm and relaxed.

While shadow cats may never become lap cats, you'll be surprised at how far they can come in time. As an owner of a shadow cat, there are lots of exercises you can do to get your new pet comfortable with people and noise. For example, you can read aloud to them or desensitize them to touch with food or treats.

Getting to know a shadow cat and their unique personality is exceptionally rewarding. Don't let their timidness or apprehension in the shelter fool you! These cats make excellent companions and want nothing more than a safe, loving home to call their own.

How can I meet with a Shadow Cat?

Shadow cats usually reside in a separate area of the shelter where staff, volunteers, and adopters are able to easily recognize their special needs.

This symbol will be included on the profile by a shadow cat's kennel so you can recognize that they are part of the program.

Shadow Cat Program - Shadow Cat Program

Allowing them to interact with us in a respectful, compassionate way ensures they feel as safe as possible during their time at the shelter.

While in the Shadow Cat program, these fearful cats get special one-on-one attention from staff and volunteers to help them better adjust to life at the shelter, often resulting in them becoming more social and relaxed. Though you may not be able to pet a shadow cat during your visit, sitting with them for a short while will allow you to observe their behaviour around you and gain a better understanding of their temperament and character.

What is the adoption process for a Shadow Cat?

Once you have met with the shadow cat you are interested in adopting, the next step is to fill out and submit a Cat Adoption Matchmaking Survey. Within 2 days of receiving your survey, an Adoption Counsellor with contact you. They will discuss the next steps, including going over any important information you may need to know in order to take home your new pet and complete the adoption process during a meeting at the shelter.

For any additional questions, please contact the Adoptions department directly by emailing or by calling 905-845-1551 ex. 147.