Cat Sanctuary


This handsome guy is the newest resident of the Old Aids area, which houses our leukemia cats.


Cappuccino is one of the cats who has come to us from another shelter. When a cat is diagnosed with feline AIDS or feline leukemia, decisions have to be made by many organisations that house homeless cats. Cats with AIDS can live quite peacefully with each other and with non-AIDS cats, as long as there is no fighting – and once cats are spayed/neutered, they become much calmer and less likely to fight to the point of drawing blood. But with feline leukemia, the virus is carried in the saliva, so the cats need to be isolated from non-leukemia cats, both for their own sake (their immune systems are compromised by the virus) and for the sake of leukemia-negative cats who can be infected by sharing a plate or a water bowl with a leukemia-positive cat.


Sadly, this means that in many places leukemia cats are euthanized because there are no facilities for keeping them separate. RAPS is one of the places that has such facilities, and many of our leukemia cats have come from outside our normal catchment area. Cappuccino is one of those cats, having been transferred to us from the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, along with two other AIDS cats, and one very shy one from a hoarding situation.


This sweet boy quickly made human friends. Initially he was very shy in his cage, but it didn’t take him long to learn that he was in good hands, and to come forward for petting and attention. He had quite an appetite, and volunteers soon learned that “seconds” were always welcome.


Once released from his cage, he decided that he didn’t much appreciate the feline company in the main room, and took himself to the “outside” area, where he can usually be found on one of the beams above head-level.  It only takes calling his name, and he comes hurrying down the ramp to get the attention he wants.  He shares the area with the shyer cats – tabby Ooly and black Chateaux are the usual company, and they all pretty well ignore each other. Once the weather turns colder, we’ll see how he makes out – the heat-lamp over a basket makes it a pretty good place to be – IF you don’t mind cuddling with other cats.


An afternoon visit with him proved that he has become more accepting of company – he and Merlin were able to sit together fairly peaceably, and nose-bumps were exchanged with shy Ooly. Even with the offering of chicken, the three were able to share without too much dispute, although he wasn’t ready to go inside for the second course. He knew that dinner was on the way, though, and there was some anxious pacing and whining going on until Alice arrived with a full plate.


Many of our volunteers work mainly in their own areas and don’t necessarily get to know cats in other places. It’s well worth the extra fuss of sanitizing to have a visit with this lovable boy and the other leukemia cats.


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Melanie Draper, Phaedra Hardman, Debbie Wolanski and Michele Wright