The four blogs earlier in the series have addressed some of the issues that come into play when deciding if a Sanctuary cat might possibly be a candidate for adoption. Feral cats – no… Health problem cats – only with due care, and knowing that you’ll be taking on a financial commitment. Behaviour problems – occasionally, but usually only if that cat will be an “only”. Semi-ferals – usually not; no matter how “tame” they may appear, there’s a wild kitten hidden inside. However, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between a semi-feral cat that has missed its socialization window, and a formerly tame cat that has strayed from home and lived wild, so that some of the feral instincts click in. This is where it becomes important to check in with med-staff Leslie, who knows all the cats, having been with the Sanctuary since its beginning.
Sometimes it’s just a case of where the population is… The No 5 Road Shelter has only so much room for cats, and towards the end of kitten season, when the adoptable kittens come in, sometimes some of the long-term adult cats need to be moved out. These are all cats that were candidates for adoption, and just didn’t “take” for whatever reason. What we call the No 5 Road Pen has several of these cats. Some former residents have already been moved back to the Shelter and been adopted out; others are still waiting for the kittens to go and someone who wants an adult cat to appear. In this pen are also Carreen, Chinook and Hudson…
Others are just long-term-residents of the Sanctuary. Ninja is one of many black cats – and yes, cats suffer from the same human reluctance to adopt a black as dogs do. He’s something of a loner; he doesn’t interact much with other cats. But he’s often delighted to be fussed over by a visitor, and to have his plushy soft fur admired.
Hannah came to us from what was something of a hoarding situation. Her former owner came to visit her regularly till she died. Hannah’s best known for her habit of jumping onto shoulders – preferably from behind. She’s a friendly girl who carries her tail straight up in the air.
Diamond and Garfield were also owner-surrenders. Mother and son, they are deeply bonded, and didn’t handle the No 5 Rd Shelter well. With us, they can share a large cage where we can try and control their food intake – what they need is a home where they can get lots of exercise.
The majority of adopters from the Sanctuary are actually our wonderful volunteers. They come in faithfully each week to tend their favourites until the point where they can’t bear to leave that favourite behind when they leave – at which point they negotiate with Leslie, and a cat goes back with them – perhaps for palliative or end-of-life care, perhaps to begin a new life.
Taking on a Sanctuary cat, then, is a two-part process – first, you go through the formal adoption approval paperwork at the No 5 Road Shelter. With Sanctuary cats there is always the concern that they are going to an indoors-only life – these are not cats that are safe with outside access. Then, you talk with Leslie about the possible adoption candidates, and about what you can offer them. And perhaps, if all goes well, they will find their new Sanctuary with you.