Cat Sanctuary

Brighton and Hillie

These two sweet girls have made the back deck of the Double-wide their home.

Hillie (L) & Brighton (R) – PH

Like Mya, Teagan and Kirstie, they are cats who have come from the nearby composting complex. We fear that someone may be dumping cats nearby, but there are certainly a few tough cats that seem to be able to survive the battle with machinery, predators and so on, and manage to reproduce. Stephanie and her team of helpers are working there pretty regularly; in the last little while they’ve brought in four kittens and two pregnant females – all now in fosterage.

Hillie trapped with baby (Havana) – PH

Brighton was trapped almost a year ago, Hillie just a little later. Phaedra was in on Hillie’s trapping, and says: “The night we caught Hillie and her three kittens was a special one. We’ve never got so many cats at the same time from Harvest and we don’t usually trap in the area we got them from. I had to walk over this field covered in white powdery stuff to where I wanted to put the trap. We got two kittens midway through the evening but something told me there was more to come so another trap was laid and set in the same spot. On our last round Hillie and another kitten were in the trap. I had an awful feeling we had missed one and worried all week until I was able to go again. We almost immediately got another kitten of the same age”. The three kittens were Hamish, Harlow and Havana – all three were eventually adopted, but Hamish and Harlow were returned to the 5 Road Shelter recently and are awaiting their forever home.

Haemish & Harlow’s formal RAPS portrait

Brighton was pregnant and went into fosterage.  Phaedra said she had a really rough time delivering and ended up with a c-section that managed to save one kitten (Rocky), who was later adopted. She would almost certainly have died trying to deliver if Stephanie and Cheryl hadn’t trapped her first.

Once their kittens were healthy and ready for adoption, the two feral mamas came to us at the Sanctuary. They were both in the Moore house originally with the three cow girls. They would both get themselves as out of reach as possible and were given the nickname The Two Gargoyles.

Staying out of reach – PH

Phaedra says “I could pet both of them but Hillie was more receptive and Brighton just seemed angry. When they were transferred to the Double-wide they seemed to switch personalities: Hillie was very upset and Brighton seemed much easier to handle. Hillie did NOT like the new environment, and was not at all averse to slashing out at Kitty Comforters. We found that she was calmer and easier to tend in a cage when she had her buddy Brighton with her, so, rather than releasing Brighton to join the other cats, we kept the two of them caged together. However, they had to be separated for a while when Brighton got a cold, and it was impossible to perform medical procedures on her with Hillie attacking the med staff. But gradually Hillie came to accept (if not always happily) that humans were now a part of her life.”

Hillie a little nervous – MW

But there’s a limit to how long you can keep cats caged, and it was more than time to let the two brave the open areas. Once their cage was opened, they made their way to the back deck – something of a relief to all of us, because it was easier to monitor their progress. Neither has made any move to make a run for the outside area. There’s no urgency to have them move – the deck of the double-wide is favoured by the shyer cats, and many of them rarely venture outside, even in the best weather. Hillie has lots of places to hide, and we mostly keep shelves draped so that she can feel that security.

“You took away my curtain!” – MW

Brighton enjoys visitors, and likes to be up on one of the cat-trees with a good view of proceedings. She’s a general favourite of the Kitty Comforters. She is very approachable so long as you move slowly. She loves her tummy rubs and pets, and adores being to be brushed. She can even be picked up but doesn’t really seem to enjoy it.

Brighton keeping a wary eye on visitors – MW

..but deciding they’re pretty boring… – MW

Hillie’s “thing” seems to be play. She can often be heard banging a ball around the deck. Phaedra puts ping pong balls out there for her, and she’s starting to come inside looking for a ball or two. One day Phaedra opened a whole packet of them and chucked them for Hillie. What a treat!

“I’m gonna get you, ball…” – PH

Both of these girls will still head for high ground if there is too much noise or fast movement so we try to move gently around them. Phaedra says “I believe they will keep getting better about accepting us and becoming our friends – though not through food. With Brighton it will be love and cuddles. Hillie is starting to associate us with play and I believe that’s her key to socialization.”
Blog by Brigid Coult & Phaedra Hardmon
Pictures by Phaedra Hardman and Michele Wright