She used to be the cat nobody wanted.
Now Ziva, who placed third in the Petcurean Uplift the Underdog: Cat Edition contest, is sitting pretty with a stack of adoption applications.
Just last week, Ziva sat unwanted in her glass showcase at a Pet Valu in Bedford. The eight-year-old black and white kitty couldn’t catch a break (or an adoption) for months, as her roommates went off to new homes.
Staff at the store entered her in the Petcurean contest and she was chosen as a finalist. She was up against five other overlooked Canadian shelter cats looking for votes on the pet-food maker’s website.
She had several hundred votes when the Chronicle Herald published a story on Ziva on Friday.
“Her votes skyrocketed through the roof,” said Erin Lynch, with Sympathetic Ear Animal Rescue. Lynch fostered Ziva before placing her in the Pet Valu at 961 Bedford Hwy. for adoption about four months ago.
At one point, Ziva had well over 3,000 votes and was leading the competition. But heavyweights Bogart from Hamilton and Ernesto from Toronto fought back and ran away with it, finishing as co-winners. Voting closed late Monday night.
“The small, little mighty Nova Scotia was up against big British Columbia and Ontario,” Lynch said. “We held our own pretty good I think.”
That was what was happening online, but in Ziva’s world at Pet Valu, the phone was ringing off the hook.
“It pretty much started right off first thing on Saturday morning, the phone calls started coming in: ‘Do you have Ziva at your store?’” said the store’s manager Heidi Dierickse.
People were coming in (and still are) to see Ziva and asking for adoption applications. Dierickse said she’ll hand out them until Ziva is officially adopted.
All that attention has gone right to Ziva’s head, giving her a whole new confident cat-itude.
“She’s taken her new famous status to new heights,” Dierickse said. “She’s waiting for people to come in so she’s either on her perch in the front window or she’ll come over to the cat scratcher by the door and wait for the people to come in, like, ‘hey guys, how you doing?’”
Lynch is now going through approximately 25 applications for Ziva.
“She’ll definitely get a home but we’re hoping that we’ll also get a home for her roommate Michelle, who is the same age and in the same kind of situation.”
Lynch said she’s going to suggest that applicants who don’t get Ziva adopt Michelle instead.
Michelle is definitely receiving residual attention, as Dierickse said many people who visiting Ziva are “falling in love with Michelle.”
In the meantime, Lynch has a tough decision to make and it will come down to which home best suits Ziva’s needs. She’s a shy, older kitty who will appreciate a quieter home.
“She needs a retirement home. She’s a retiree, right?”
Ziva didn’t win the grand prize in the contest, but as a finalist she did win a year’s supply of cat food, her adoption fee is covered, and Sympathetic Ear wins a donation of 2,000 meals.
The infusion of food right now is big for the rescue, Lynch said.
“The food is phenomenal because we’re hurting right now. We’re small and we don’t get grants and funding so we have a very large vet bill we’re trying to pay down, so not having to worry about buying food will definitely help us put money back on our vet bill.”
Sympathetic Ear in Cooks Brook has eight cats looking for adoption and another 30 feral cats in foster care. It takes three to five years for feral cats to be ready for adoption.
Lynch, who has been rescuing cats for around 15 years, said there are highs and lows in the work, but Ziva’s story is definitely one of the high moments. It also shines a light on the good work of shelters like Sympathetic Ear.
“She needed the attention because she is a senior kitty that everyone overlooked for months so this attention was well-deserved on her part.”
The votes are in:
Bogart - 34,386
Ernesto - 36,729
Ziva - 13,896
To donate to Sympathetic Ear Animal Rescue:
1. E-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Fundy Veterinarians collects donations for the shelter at their locations (21089 Hwy 2, Shubenacadie and 6 Greenfield Rd., Murray Siding).