Shadow Cat Program

ShadowThe Oakville & Milton Humane Society receives many cats that may have recently been living on the street, or may have been traumatized by the experience of being brought into the shelter, so may be acting very shy and nervous in the new environment. Unfortunately shy, nervous, fearful or under-socialized cats are sometimes overlooked by adopters at the shelter because they tend to spend most of their time in the back of their cages, and can be a little nervous when picked up and held. We call these particular cats Shadow Cats since these cats are scared and not used to people and just want to hide in the “shadows”. We are seeking people who will give one (or two) of these cats a chance.

Cats that are part of the Shadow Cat program are housed in a special area that staff, volunteers and adopters can easily recognize their special needs, and interact with them in an especially respectful, compassionate way. While in the Shadow program these fearful cats get special one-on-one attention from volunteers and staff to help them adjust to life in the kennels and become more social and relaxed.

Who should adopt a Shadow Cat?

Shadow cats can make wonderful companions, but need a special home that is willing to give them patience, time, space, socialization and extra love. Some shadow cats may not be used to being inside a house, or may have never before experienced kindness from a human. Other shadow cats may just need to be out of the scary shelter environment before they are relaxed enough to show you their loving personality. This cat may never be a lap cat, but you never know how far they can progress. They are not aggressive, just very timid around people and need time to settle in. The length of time can vary and will definitely take a while. Shy cats also benefit from owners who will do exercises with them, like reading aloud to them to get them used to people and noise, play therapy, and when ready desensitizing to touch with food treats. Don’t let these shy cats fool you though, they would love to be your companion and have a safe place to call home!

What home is best for a Shadow cat?

Shadow cats would do best in a home with a new owner who understands how and why cats can be scared or shy, and is interested in working with the cat to build its confidence and teach it to be more trusting. Shy cats would be good for a home with either no children, or with older children who are cat-savvy and interested in helping the cat come out of its shell. Shy cats would love a home that is quiet and relaxed, with a nice place to nap. These cats should go home with another cat. If you have a cat already that would be ideal, otherwise why not adopt a pair of Shadow cats!

Adoption Process:

The first step is to meet with one of these adorable cats. Once you and your family have interacted with the animal(s), you can fill out an adoption Match Making Survey. Once we receive the survey a meeting will be booked with one of our Adoption Counsellor’s to help make sure the pet you have chosen is the perfect match. There is a special adoption fee for the Shadow cats since they are a little different than your typical family pet. For information on the adoption fee or process regarding the Shadow cats please email the Adoptions Department at