The small group of cats who live in the Val Jones area are favourites with a number of the volunteers. I know that I’m not the only one who visits on a regular basis to make a fuss of them.
The dominant cat in this area is Jerry. He’s always been something of a hair-trigger personality – for a while there was a semi-joke about whether or not one was member of a “Jerry Victims Support Group”. To be fair, it was not usually that Jerry attacked people, but if you got between Jerry and a cat he disliked, you usually came off the worse for wear! . Most recently it was gauged that Breezer needed to be transferred out of the VJ and into the Old Aids next door; we are wary of having another dominant personality in this group – Jerry needs to be top cat! For a while he was not in good condition – what appeared to be a reaction to flea meds left him balding and uncomfortable. But his fur has regrown to its usual luxuriant length, and Jerry is enjoying being admired again.
In spite of his size, our sweet Henrik is actually quite shy, and no competition for Jerry. Henrik is the brother of Daniel, out in the front courtyard (what else would you name a pair of red-heads who came in together?) but one of the side-effects of his FeLV is mouth ulcers, and the medication to ease that causes him to put on weight. Since he is also one of the larger cats in the area the effect is pretty startling.
And the side-effect of that is that he can’t groom himself effectively, so that a complete haircut is occasionally necessary.
Chip is the brother of Dale, in the Double-wide. He’s the nearest thing Jerry has to competition, and tends to be very wary of him; mostly you’ll find Jerry in the left-hand cabin (VJ 1), and Chip in the smaller right-hand one (VJ 2). Chip is a chicken-lover, and always emerges when there are offerings. He’s a friendly boy, and likes human company.
This little boy came from the Newcomers area when blood-tests showed that what was obviously latent FeLV had become full-blown. He’s another chick-aholic, and we worry about his health when he’s not ready to chow down on chicken tidbits. Still very shy, you’ll usually find Foxy hiding on one of the lower shelves. He’s not ready to be petted, but humans bearing gifts are tolerated.
Cross-eyed Mocha is the last of a family of three cats who came in together. We recently lost her sister Cappuccino – a little torbie who looked nothing like her litter mate. Her brother Pekoe (Orange Pekoe, of course) was one of my favourites when I first came to the Sanctuary, and other than colouring, looked very like Mocha – including the stubby tail. His sister is a little wary about being petted, but is very food-motivated.
Sweet Suga came into the Val Jones about 18 months ago, and immediately settled down with her friends. She’s a snuggler – there’s often a cuddle-puddle in the Val Jones house, and Suga is inevitably part of it.
This sweet boy has been part of the VJ family for some time. He’s the brother of pretty grey Hope in the front courtyard, and Domino (now passed), and we cared for both his mother Joanie, and the cat we think was his father, Hudson. GusGus is one of my own sponsor cats, and I try to spend a little time with him whenever I visit. FeLV leaves him very susceptible to feline colds, and I’m always anxious when he’s off his food – it’s usually that he’s become congested and food loses its tastiness for him. This is always an anxious time for us – with Feline Leukemia, the compromised immune system has a harder time throwing off any infection.