Nearly every cat that comes to us, comes with a sad back-story.
Sometimes it’s as simple as being a feral cat, and therefore not suitable for adoption.
Sometimes it’s a cat with a physical or medical problem, like our incontinent Manx Syndrome cats.
The saddest are the cats that have had a good home, and are obviously upset by its loss. Krissy’s owner died and Krissy took more than a year to come out of her cage and investigate life at the Sanctuary.
Krissy’s not a young cat, but she’s now part of the general front courtyard population. More frequently, a cat whose owner has passed or gone into care may also be getting up there in age, and these cats often end up in the Moore House – often known as GeriCatrics. The Moore House was the gift of long-time volunteer Marianne Moore, who we lost last year. She was responsible for the creation of the Kitty Comforters, and she had a particular love for the older cats, who often do better in a quieter environment than one of the larger areas.
In the last few weeks four “new” old cats have come into the Moore House. Like all newcomers, they are caged for the first few weeks to allow them to assimilate the move, and then the cage door is opened to allow them to investigate their new surroundings, and establish their place with the other cats.
Wink and PomPom are the slightly older pair, at 18 years each. Their sign tells us that they were “surrendered for allergies” – we don’t know whether they came into the hands of a new owner who wasn’t aware of his/her sensitivity, or a new person with allergies moved in. But at 18 years old – probably equivalent to late 80s in human terms – they find themselves surrendered. And people coming to a shelter to adopt don’t easily look at cats of that age, especially when they’re a bonded pair. In some municipalities they would just be put to sleep, but RAPS’ no-kill promise means they will have a home with us as long as they need it.
Wink, as his name implies, is one-eyed, and when I visited he had just finished dinner, and was mostly keeping that one eye closed in a cat-nap. His buddy PomPom was much more interested in visiting, though not sure about lap-sitting; he was very happy to sit beside me and be adored.
The other pair of boys are almost as old, at 17 years; the owner of Fluff and Rufus died, and they have come to us from a rescue in the Kootenays. Many shelters would not be able to give space to two elderly cats who are unlikely to be re homed, at that age – with the added complication that Fluff has hyperthyroidism, and will need daily medication. Once again, our links with other rescues around the province mean that we can give these two a home. Rufus is very placid, with a soothing rumble of a purr; Fluff is more restless (a hyperthyroid characteristic). Both were happy to have a visitor, and I think they will integrate well into the Moore House population.
We don’t allow Sunday visitors into the Moore House – having strangers around is often stressful for these old cats. But they will get regular visits from the Kitty Comforters, and staff and volunteers alike will often find their way to the Moore House for an hour of senior cat love.
Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright