To anyone aware of the media, anxiety about the fires in the Interior of BC is no news. Even for those of us not directly impacted by the flames there is concern about friends and family members, and, at RAPS, about the situation at other rescues. The news tells us what shouldn’t surprise us – that people are wonderful in stepping forward to help refugees, both human and animal, and to give temporary shelter to those in need.
So far only two of those refugees have actually come to us at the Cat Sanctuary. One of the things we have to bear in mind when we accept temporary residents is that we don’t know what they have been vaccinated against, or how their immune systems may deal with other cats – so they have to remain safely caged while they’re here. And we actually don’t have that many cages, especially if we want to keep them in a quiet low-traffic area. So, large as the Sanctuary is, there is limited space for feline visitors.
Our two refugees are safely tucked away in the Moore House with the senior cats; both are pretty senior as well. Boots is a snowshoe Siamese. At some stage in his life he has probably been a feral in a TNR program, since both ears have been clipped. Typically Siamese-vocal, he loves to have attention, and the Kitty Comforters are always ready to wash their hands and climb into his cage with him. Like Romeo, he appears to be a bit arthritic, and his movement is restricted, though when the door is open he is anxious to jump down and investigate. He’d love to explore a bit more, but for immunity reasons, it won’t be allowed. I’ve folded myself into his cage on several occasions, and he’s been eager to come and lap-sit.
Jimmy, in the adjacent cage, is more wary, less ready to come for pets. Both his ears are crumpled, which is often seen in cats who have suffered from ear-mites, and it’s likely that he, like Boots, has come from a feral background in which that condition is more common. He has been suffering with a haematoma ear which has required treatment, and, like many cats, he objects to medical attention! Perhaps I remind him of someone he doesn’t like, because with me he remains huddled on his high shelf, and shrinks from contact. Anne Marchetti heads up the Kitty Comforters, and says
I have found Jimmy to be quite affectionate and demonstrative. He really isn’t as withdrawn as he’d lead you to believe; he just needs you to make the first move. The second I begin petting him, he leans into my hand, rolls onto his side, and kneads the air with his paws. He’ll stand up, rub against the side of his cage, and flop down again for more petting. He really seems to enjoy our visits, despite occasionally flashing me a wary, watchful look.
Anne is a cat whisperer!
When Boots and Jimmy’s owner is able to return home, our visitors will go home as well. We’ll miss them, but we’re glad to have been able to be a part of keeping them safe, and we hope that their little stay in the Lower Mainland has made them some new friends.