Tracy Toll wasn’t concerned about introducing her two dogs, Flash and Tasha, or even her cat, Morgan, to the four foster kittens when she brought them home a few weeks ago.
She did, however, fear that they might meet Apollo, the male cat she had just adopted.
“He [Apollo] is 5 years old, and he’d just been fixed,” Toll, a volunteer with the Ontario SPCA (OSPCA), told The Dodo. “Being a male cat, I thought he might try and hurt them.”
Toll’s fears weren’t unfounded — unneutered male cats can exhibit aggressive behaviors, although neutering tends to eliminate these behaviors. But in Apollo’s case, Toll worried it was too soon after his operation for these changes to take effect.
According to Toll, Apollo’s former owner had turned him over to the OSPCA and it was evident that he had been gravely mistreated.
Toll said that because of how matted his hair was, it “nearly looked like a turtle shell.” He need shaving down.
Toll made the decision to adopt Apollo after falling in love with his lovely disposition while working as a volunteer at the shelter. He was able to get along with her other cat and two dogs quite well. However, Toll wasn’t sure how he would act around little, naughty kittens.
Toll decided to play it safe and confine the kittens to her daughter’s room for the duration of their stay with her when she brought the kittens home to temporarily care for them.
Toll, however, was completely wrong about Apollo.
When the kittens rushed out of my daughter’s door one day, I yelled, “Grab Apollo,” Toll recalled. It was already too late. He did not hiss or snarl when the kittens approached him. He didn’t do anything but observe and smell them.
After this, Apollo quickly became “Mr. Mom,” according to Toll.
“He would go in [their room] at feeding time, and then I noticed he’d start lying up on the bed, allowing the kittens to lie close to him,” Toll said.
Then the kittens, named Teddy, Axel, Kai and Levi, started lying right on top of Apollo.
“He would clean them from head to tail, and then my son … sent me a video of Apollo letting one of the kittens nurse off of him,” Toll said.
Apollo played with the kittens while he wasn’t grooming or cuddling with them.
She said, “They would play together on the cat tree.” The kittens would be racing around on the cat tree and all over Apollo while he lay there and observed.
And like a protective mom, Apollo would step in when things got out of hand.
“If two of the kittens ran into the room, and they were playing too roughly with each other, and he’d hear them cry, he’d go and check to see if they were OK,” Toll said
Toll felt bad for Apollo when it was time for the kittens to return to the shelter so they could find permanent homes.
She said, “I felt so awful when I had to take them back. “Apollo took great care of them.”
According to Toll, Kai and Levi have already been adopted, and the OSPCA staff anticipates that the other two will do the same soon.
Apollo might miss the kittens, but Toll intends to foster kittens repeatedly. And she is certain that Apollo will adore every second of it.