Cat Sanctuary

Gizmo the Grey

The Cat Sanctuary has recently welcomed several new cats who are finding their places in the various different areas.


As much as possible, when a cat comes to the 5 Road Shelter, we try to find a new home for it. The staff try to match personalities with potential adopters, and mostly it works – but there are always the exceptions. Several of our cats failed adoption for reasons of aggression and were transferred to the Sanctuary because they were no longer considered adoptable.


Gizmo (known as Gizmo the Grey, so as not to confuse him with the recently departed orange Gizmo in the Moore House) was trapped as a feral. The people who trapped him were willing to keep him, but Gizmo was not a happy camper, and was more than ready to attack, given the least provocation. At the Sanctuary he was caged for a while, and took a very dim view of this, swatting at other cats through the mesh of his enclosure. We were not at all certain of whether he might eventually be relocated to the feral pens at the back, and the Kitty Comforters were very wary when visiting him.


As we usually do in this situation, when release time comes, we try to make it a supervised release – the cage is opened at a time when the med staff are around, so that they can observe, and react if necessary. With Gizmo, attack was the best defence – there was a lot of growling and face-off confrontations with other cats, and on more than one occasion he had to be scooped up and returned to his cage. (Med staff Mollie says he still holds a grudge against her!).  But gradually he settled; he chooses not to interact with other cats, but has become quite an explorer in the back courtyard and in the Double-Wide.
He reminds me of little grey Amber (now gone) – he’s a climber, and shy, though he’s getting better with humans. Just as we found with Watson and Chimo, the initial aggression gave way to a more sociable personality. All three of them had more than a touch of teenage brattishness about them, and all three are maturing into really nice cats (Watson has now been adopted, and Chimo is very much a back yard greeter.)

Gizmo making off with an entire bag of treats from a visitor – ML

It is interesting that our dark grey cats (almost Russian blue) are all stand-offish or aggressive. We all know Leland in the front courtyard, but Petunia, also part of that group, is a real “don’t touch me!” girl, though she is ready to accept treats. In the Newcomers, grey Chester is another for whom attack is the best defence (with other cats, at least), and his room-mate Willi is the nervous sort. And Sylar, in the back courtyard, won’t allow a human near him, though when he was caged for treatment, he was ready to accept petting.


Gizmo is becoming more willing to interact with people, and to accept a caress without returning it with a swat. He may never get to the stage of being ready for adoption – but someone who is feral-savvy and has no other competing cats might be able to give him a home. As with all our semi-ferals, for an adoption to work, there needs to be a strong bond between human and cat, and a knowledge, on the human’s part, of the reading of feline body-language – not to mention a lot of patience! Gizmo’s not there yet, but he’s learning…

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Phaedra Hardman, Moira Langley and Michele Wright