Pen 5 is largely inhabited by big cats.
Big floofy cats….
Solid muscular cats…
Cats who definitely could do with losing some weight.
And then there are Careen and Willow.
These two sweet grey girls are of the small-but-solid variety. They came from very different situations, several years ago. Careen comes from the same site as many of the No 8 Pen cats – the Lafarge cement plant in Richmond – but unlike most of them, she was ready to be friendly with humans. Unfortunately, by the time she came to us, the main shelter was in full swing of kitten season, and there was no room for Careen.
Because we wanted to keep track of her, she was put in Pen 5, which was closed at that stage, and she quickly settled with her new cat family, though she became much shyer, once away from constant human contact.
She enjoys wandering the extent of Pen 5, and is much happier now about coming out to meet visitors, and indulging in human attention.
She became the buddy of another little grey girl also from east Richmond. Willow was a former farm-cat who came in as a typical scared feral who didn’t want human attention. Her sister is Amelia Earheart, who hides out in Pen 4 with the ferals.
However, Willow was one of the cats who developed vestibular disease – a condition of the inner ear which leaves the cat off-balance and nauseous – and the necessary course of cage-care to help her recover had the added advantage of proving to her that humans were less scary than she had thought.
Like many of the cats with this condition, Willow has been left with a slight head-tilt, which doesn’t seem to affect her movement, but certainly leaves her looking cute! (Fellow felines Babylon, Tara and Tibet all have a similar head-tilt – though Babylon can turn his head round more like an owl!)
Both Willow and Careen enjoy gentle attention from visitors. As former ferals, we would be very wary about allowing adoption unless they were to bond with someone – and they might well not adapt well to becoming indoor cats after enjoying the freedom and safety of pen life.
Their favourite place is to be found on the front step of the cabin, where they happily share a chair and mutual cuddles.
The idiom “it’s a dog’s life” is usually taken to mean that life is unpleasant or boring. There is no feline equivalent idiom, but a cat’s life, for Careen and Willow, feels pretty good!