Darius is a cat with whom everyone falls in love!
We think he has some British Shorthair in him – obviously, we have no idea of his breeding, but he has many of those characteristics: the broad face and stocky body, and a plushy dense coat. British Shorthairs come in a full range of colouring, though the Blue is the desired standard for showing. Darius has classic tabby markings, with the characteristic whorl pattern on his sides.
He came to the City Shelter in early summer, picked up as a stray, but he was so aggressive and angry that it was thought he might actually be feral; in any case, he was obviously not a candidate for adoption, and was transferred to the Sanctuary. As with many trapped cats, cage life was a bit overwhelming for him – until he discovered that the visits he had from staff, Kitty Comforters and other volunteers, were not in fact so scary, and often resulted in play and treats. Darius became less and less inclined to hide in his box, and more ready to interact with us.
The initial few weeks in a cage is intended to give cats a chance to assimilate their surroundings, as well as getting used to the humans who will care for them. When the cage is opened, some cats (like Ruff and Sprocket) resolutely stay in their familiar corner until they feel much more confident, while others make a bee-line for the cage-tops or the back deck to put some distance between them and us. Darius was cautious, but it wasn’t long before he watched more confident cats using the door to the laundry room and then out via the cat-door, and he too made his way outside.
Now he felt he had the best of both worlds – the freedom he remembered, but also the human attention with which he had become familiar. He explored every inch of the back courtyard area, poking his way into open pens, finding toys to play with, and other cats to get to know. He’s a pretty sociable guy – not bonding with anyone else, but not afraid to interact with them. He is often one of the “on the table” cats at coffee time, migrating his way from one person to another and enjoying the attention.
As he settles with us, it becomes obvious that he is a stray – a cat who once knew a human home – rather than a feral – born wild and not comfortable with handling. However, we will probably only adopt him under the semi-feral principle of bonding with a prospective owner. Our experience has taught us that unless a semi-feral or very wary cat really bonds with a human, then moving from a place where it is comfortable to a new home is a stressful experience – which is why Darius was as as angry and aggressive as he was when he arrived.
Most of the successful adoptions in this situation take place when a staff member or a volunteer takes the cat – sweet, shy Mischa bonded with med-staff Jess, and has settled well in his new home. But Mischa saw Jess almost every day; for a cat like Darius to have a relative stranger take him would be very difficult.
So for now, Darius is a happy cat, with places to explore and other cats with which to interact, and we’ll see if there is a volunteer or a regular visitor to whom he is drawn, and with whom he might find a home, and safety for the rest of his days.