By Jennifer Hafer | Photography by Samantha Shal
Chardonnay is a shy, quiet girl whose coat is coal black – two traits that didn’t bode well for her finding a forever home.
But, lucky for her, a delay in the construction of a new shelter for Good Mews cat rescue led her to the Marietta home of Andrea Cartier.
“I was fostering three cats at home until the new shelter is finished,” she said. “After I brought her home, Chardonnay had lost a little weight, so I would bring her downstairs away from the other cats to make sure she was getting enough to eat.”
Cartier, who volunteers at Good Mews and also sits on the group’s board of directors, said all of that couch time helped the pair form a special bond.
“The more comfortable she got with me, the more this wonderful little personality came out that we had never really seen at the shelter,” she said. “So, I decided to be selfish and keep her all to myself.”
At four-and-a-half years old, Chardonnay had spent most of her life at the shelter after being rescued from a hoarding situation.
“There was one person taking care of 50 cats, which wasn’t a good situation for anybody; certainly not the cats, and not the person either,” Cartier said. “The cats were kept in a backyard shed, 50 cages stacked on top of each other, and I remember, there was a single light bulb in this shed.”
After such an ignoble beginning, Chardonnay was slow to come out of her shell.
“Knowing her history and watching her do things for the first time, like she just started playing with toys on her own for the first time a couple of days ago,” Cartier said. “She has responded very well to me. I feel like she was just meant to be with me.”
In finding her forever home with Cartier, Chardonnay has become one of the more than 6,800 cats Good Mews has placed in permanent homes since 1988. Good Mews, one of the few virtually cage-free, no-kill cat shelters in Georgia, opened its new 5,600-square-foot shelter on Johnson Ferry Road in August.
“I love all animals, but cats are better for my lifestyle,” Cartier said. “I think cats get a bad rap for being aloof or standoffish, but that’s not the case. They all have their own personalities and they’re wonderful creatures.”