MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Overwhelmed with hundreds of dogs and cats, Humane Society workers are doing whatever they can to get the animals adopted into good homes.
Sometimes, though, an animal stuck in a cage isn't itself and it can make adoption prospects more difficult. To help some sad personalities shine, the Grand Strand Humane Society has launched a new initiative for cats.
"When you went to stick your hand in, he would attack. Like swatting with both paws, trying to bite you," GSHS executive director Jess Wnuk said about Norton the cat.
An indoor cat, she said Norton was surrendered by his former owner along with two other cats. As it turned out, he acted more like a feral cat inside the cage.
"He was in a carrier because no one could touch him," Wnuk said.
She decided to put Norton in her office and see how he reacted. What happened is inspiring a new program at GSHS.
Cats like Norton, who aren't feral but act wild in a cage, are being kept inside the shelter's offices, offering tons of snuggles for workers.
"Within 15 minutes of letting him walk around my office this was him," Wnuk said while Norton rolled over to have his belly rubbed.
The young cat is gentle, friendly and inquisitive to anyone who sees him outside a cage.
"Instead of trying to rehab them in a cage, in our isolation area they can actually be rehabbed in a home-type setting so people can actually see what they'd be like when they're home," Wnuk said.
Potential adopters will be escorted to the officers if they're interested in the cats back there. This is a second chance for these indoor animals who couldn't be released into the wild after being neutered like feral cats.
"So hopefully they will fly out of our doors very quickly, and we'll be able to put the next one in the offices," Wnuk said with a smile.
The cat program has yet to be named and the Humane Society is currently seeking names from the public.
According to the executive director, right now is the busiest time of the year for shelters.
It's "kitten season" and pets are being purposely left behind in motel rooms by tourists, while cruelty cases are at a high and many people aren't adopting because they're on vacation, she explained.
To lessen the number of pets in the shelter, GSHS is hosting an adoption special for dogs and cats six years and older Friday through Sunday. Adoption fees will be waived to get the senior pets into a good home.