Shortly before I came to volunteer at the Sanctuary, RAPS had a heavy-duty kitten year, and in order to make room at the Shelter on 5 Road, a large group of older cats was transferred across to the Sanctuary. For some time the pen that is now Pen 5 was known as the Five Rd Pen, since they were all transferred together. It was kept as a closed pen, with the hope that the inhabitants might eventually return to the Shelter for adoption, and that was a reality for some of them – Katie, Moe, Theo – all found their own homes in time.
But a steady colony remained – cats who seemed to be comfortable with the space and with each other, and who didn’t appear to need a human in their lives. The core group consisted of two pairs and four singles, all very much in relationship with each other. Rudolph and Salish, Adam and May, hissy feral Capilano, his calming buddy Walker, chubby Chinook and shy Hudson, all remained in the space even when the gate was opened and other cats came and went. We don’t know if the two pairs came in as bonded couples, and what their relationship is – mates or siblings. But it’s very evident that you don’t usually see either pair apart for long.
Rudolph could easily be relegated to the “another black cat” status, but it’s evident that he’s one of the more beautiful individuals. His fur is always immaculate and glossy, and he has wonderful eyes. He is very keen on Temptations treats, and vies with his buddy Adam to get the most. But he’s not a cuddly cat with humans – he will accept a little gentle petting, but he’s more comfortable at arm’s length.
Salish is equally beautiful in another way. Seen alone, her magnificent coat makes her look enormous, and it’s only when you see her in company with the other cats that you acknowledge her smaller size, and also that there’s probably an even smaller body under all that fur. We do need to keep an eye on her – she’s one of the cats that occasionally needs a little rear-end shave job!
When she does emerge, it’s almost always in company with Rudolph – she seems to take courage when he’s around. She’s happiest in the Pen 5 area, but often in the evening the whole group emerges into the back courtyard and makes their way down towards the tea-room to see if supper’s being prepared.
It’s very evident that she’s the active lover of the duo.
Adam and May might just be adoptable as a pair – though there’s no knowing how they would transition to an indoor life after life in the pen. Rudolph and Salish would probably not be adoptable – Salish is too shy and wary of humans; she’s happiest where she is, living with good friends, and with her Rudolph always at hand.