Earlier this year, Diane Sontum said goodbye to her beloved cat, Ricki. As part of her healing process, especially as a recent window, Sontum decided to open her heart and home to a shelter cat shortly after. She reached out to Laramie Animal Welfare Society (LAWS) to inquire about residents in need of a foster home, and they knew just the right cat for her: an orange tabby named Margo.
“She had been surrounded by a family that loved her, but they had a baby and … it wasn’t working with the baby,” Sontum said in a TikTok. “She’s been in the shelter for about a month.”
When she went to pick her up, LAWS told Sontum that Margo was having a difficult time adjusting to life at the shelter. Margo was scared of her new environment and wouldn’t let anyone at the shelter get close to or touch her.
“They told me that she doesn’t want to be petted or touched and that she’s been so stressed out about being surrendered,” Sontum said.
The cat was already in her crate and ready to go home when Sontum picked her up. This meant that their first official meeting would be in Sontum’s home.
Sontum brought Margo back to her house and placed the crate in a quiet room. As she reached for the crate’s door, Margo started rubbing her face against its bars as if she couldn’t wait to get out. Sontum opened the door and was surprised when Margo ran straight to her for affection.
You can watch their heartwarming first meeting here:
“They told me she was so shy and that she wouldn’t come to me,” Sontum said. “When I opened that crate, that was our first introduction. I think it went pretty well.”
A couple of days later, Sontum provided an update on TikTok about Margo. Unfortunately, Sontum found the shelter’s concerns to be true — Margo was too scared to let anyone, including Sontum, touch her.
“She will rub up against my feet, but she does not want me to pet her,” Sontum said in the update. “Part of her stress response from her trauma has been that she does not want to be touched. We’re just figuring it out together.”
As much as Sontum wanted Margo to feel comfortable right away, she knew that the cat needed to warm up to her new surroundings on her own time.
“I’m really happy that she’s here, and I’m willing to be very patient with her as she unwinds from what she’s been through,” Sontum said.
Over time, Margo started settling into her new environment. As her curiosity grew, she began exploring other parts of Sontum’s house. For the most part, Sontum felt that the cat was just looking for new places to sleep, but one room, in particular, caught her attention.
Dean, Sontum’s sulcata tortoise, lived in that room, and the cat was just as confused about him as she was interested in her new sibling.
“Margo has been having a good time exploring the house. But, there is one room she’s not quite sure if she wants to visit yet,” Sontum wrote in a TikTok.
As Margo’s curiosity grew, so did her desire to explore the land outside Sontum’s house. So, Sontum connected a leash to Margo’s collar and took the cat for her first stroll outside.
“This little girl has been begging to go outside, and, you know, I cannot let her out. It’s not safe for her to be out. So, I put her on a little leash, and we go for a walk in the backyard,” Sontum said in a TikTok.
It’s been over a month now since Sontum starting fostering Margo, and, although she still has a long journey of healing ahead of her, the cat’s fears finally seem to be melting away.
“Margo is starting to like me to touch her,” Sontum wrote in a TikTok caption. “She doesn’t cuddle, but we are getting closer.”
When she’s not rubbing her face against Sontum for affection or sitting outside on her leash, Margo can be found cozying up in her newly discovered spaces.
“She’s been super busy going into every room in the house exploring, sniffing around, looking. And I thought, ‘What in the world is she looking for?’ And then I got it: horizontal surfaces,” Sontum said on TikTok. “She found a lot of them.”
As of now, there’s no telling what Margo’s next chapter will look like as the sweet cat is still on the hunt for a forever home. But, with her connection to Sontum growing stronger each day, there’s a chance that Margo is already exactly where she belongs.
“She’s kind of taken over,” Sontum said in a TikTok. “[It’s a] queen of the castle kind of thing.”