Almost three years ago, a little colony of cats was identified by a couple of our volunteers, and eventually trapped and brought to RAPS. One of the disadvantages for cats living feral (or, for that matter, for tame cats allowed to wander freely) is that they are susceptible to a couple of nasty viruses – in particular, feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline AIDS (FIV). Four of this group ended up with us in the New Aids enclosure; early photos show a very unhappy set of cats hiding in various corners of the cages in which they began their stay.
Holland was the one female in the group. Most of our AIDS cats are male, since it is a virus usually transmitted through blood among cats that fight – and fighting, of course, is inevitable among males when females come into season. We have no way of knowing if Holland had ever borne a litter, and, as with all our cats, she’s safely spayed now.
King George, who seemed to be the leader of this little group, settled down fairly quickly, and has become relaxed around humans; it is possible that he was at one time a tame cat. We don’t think Holland was very old when she came in to us – possibly less than a year – and it’s likely she was a feral kitten and had no chance for socialization in the first key months. She has remained wary and skittish; sometimes she hovers on the fringe of action, but almost always backs off. Cat-whisperer Phaedra says “When Holland was caged with her sibling Wesley I could pet her and she’d even do the bum rise thing. Her best reaction to me these days is not fleeing in terror. She’s absolutely gorgeous and I think she should be my friend but I guess she doesn’t agree. She seems to spend more time outdoors and up high during the day time when I’m there”
She’s such a beautiful girl, though, that she’s become something of a magnet for our photographers, and in the finer weather, it’s lovely to see her moving about the enclosure rather than hiding out in a corner, with her lovely torbie fur, and those delightful ear feathers, ruffled by the breeze.