ASPCA Happy Tails: Office Foster Finds a Home

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 1:15pm
White cat with green eyes

To celebrate the end of National Foster Care month, today’s Happy Tail is about a special-needs cat named Miss Pearl whose life was transformed by the ASPCA’s office foster program.

Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, sometimes, it takes a “village” to save an animal, as well! Such was the case with Miss Pearl, a feisty four-year-old cat who came to the ASPCA in August 2013. Pearl has Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and when we first met her, she also had a host of behavioral problems ranging from anxiety to aggression. We knew from the start that she would be a handful.

When Pearl first arrived at the ASPCA Adoption Center, she was upset. She growled, swatted, and did not take well to being petted down her back. We quickly learned that she was severely cat-aggressive and would redirect on people if she became upset by another cat. Because of her fears and issues, she had to spend much of her time isolated—which made it difficult to work on her socialization skills. But instead of giving up, we grew more determined than ever to help this frisky feline. We decided to enroll her in the ASPCA’s office foster program.

The office foster program is a unique concept that gives special-needs cats a chance to live in the office of one of our team members, allowing the animal to be socialized while receiving lots of extra attention. In November, Helene G., who works in the Licensing Department at the ASPCA, agreed to foster Miss Pearl. The results were amazing.

“Miss Pearl was transformed within two days of being here,” recalls Helene.  The extra attention was just what she needed, and in her two-month stay, she won many hearts. Helene says, “Pearl loved being held and stroked and loved getting visitors from all over the office. In fact, a self-described “dog person” in the office fell in love with her and was a frequent visitor!” The foster program worked wonders for Pearl, and by February, she was ready for adoption.

“The day Pearl left was bittersweet for all of us,” Helene says. “Her picture is still my screensaver.” But Helene, along with the rest of the staff, knew that her job was done. In February, Pearl was adopted into a forever home.

We caught up with Pearl’s new mom, Laura, who says that she’s doing really well. Laura renamed her Kiko, and tells us, “I absolutely love having her and couldn’t be happier having her as my little companion.” Though she was rehabilitated through our office foster program, Kiko still maintains much of her friskiness: “She goes crazy for treats, and she’ll hunt me down, follow me everywhere, meow and purr until I give her some! I can’t refuse her antics,” she laughs. But her sweet side shines, too. “When she takes naps, she snores! It’s so adorable.”

From the ASPCA to Helene’s office to Laura’s home, Kiko has touched many lives. She is proof of what can happen when we all work together, and though we miss her presence around the office, we are so proud of all that she has accomplished.

If you live in New York City and would like to become an ASPCA foster care volunteer, please email [email protected] and visit our foster care page to learn more. 

White cat laying down

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To gorgeous, fluffy, magnificent Kiko and her beloved Laura, nothing but fun and joy and cherished love forever. Wonderful "happy tail"!


Beautiful story...had tears in my eyes. Kiko aka Pearl is adorable. Wishing Laura and Kiko nothing but the best! :)


Love to hear these great stories. I have 3 rescues we brought from California, and now have a 4th in Texas. They have the best personalities, and they are finally accepting the little male. God love them all....


It states that "Pearl" HAS Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), . . . in our area, Vets don't give them a chance - they euthanize them. They state if they scratch another cat, the other cats will get this virus, and they eventually die a painful death. What IS THIS? I've rescued three cats who Vets have euthanized because of this virus!


My first cat who lived to about 20 and then got cancer had FIV and none of the vets ever said to euthanize him. They said if he bit another cat they may get it but I kept him indoors. Those vets are crazy.


Some vets do not stay current on conditions or maybe just don't like cats. FIV is NOT the death sentence it was once thought to be.


We have had 3 cats with FIV.

One passed at 18 years old and the other 2 are now 10 and 5 years old. Nothing difficult about them except making sure they go to the vets every 6 months or so for routine checkups.

FIV isn't a death sentence.