by Pauline Chin
Look! A big orange cat came right up to me. He must be as nice as he looks!
Like other large or attractive cats, people often wonder why they’re here at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary. If only their exterior appearance matched their personalities!
Mango loves to befriend humans and bully cats. His current routine is to greet newly arrived humans with a bold leg rub and at times … a leg trip. With a club-shaped tail, large body, and being almost knee-high, he can easily tangle your feet. Moving backwards or forwards, you’ll be doing the foxtrot when he chooses to weave between them. Be glad you’re not carrying a tray of coffees or a pot of soup!
He likes petting and all food offers. Like a loyal friend, he’ll keep following you around. He has a growing curiosity of closed gates. The cold doesn’t bother him at all. He also like to sample all the food bowls in the courtyard.
With his “friendliness” established, you’ll be playing right into his paws. Nothing bad can happen, right? If any other cats come by to say hello, Mango will swat them. He also has a sneaky habit of inching closer to unsuspecting cats and smacking them or chasing them away. These dirty tricks have quickly earned him a bad reputation. Keeping it up and he’ll be dancing with himself in time out.
I find him to be an oversized, unruly kitten at times. Wands and lasers catch his eye, but only hold his attention for a short time. A rattle from a ball or another cat approaching suddenly becomes more interesting. If he wants something, he might bite or grab with claws. We have other cats like that, too. It’s a behaviour that most of them never leave behind. We warn newcomers or leave a wide berth while walking by.
This boy does not know his own strength. If a small kitten pounced on feet or gnawed on hands, it could be ignored. When a 15-pound fellow like him does it, it hurts. Littermates can bite them back in return or walk away to establish boundaries. All we humans can do is shout “no!” and walk away. Of course, there’s the odd human who insists on carrying on a conversation and still treating them. In Mango’s mind, it means biting = treats. “I must bite the hand that feeds!”
While caged, he appeared calm and lazy. For a one-year-old, he’s huge! After a couple minutes of interaction, the claws and teeth would come out. He didn’t display much warning. It was his way of communicating “enough” or “go away.” His size made it tough to maneuver around. The only choices were to sit or leave. Mango would either lay in the tree or snack on his kibble. If he was angry or defensive, he would make some effort to chase you out.
Biting and clawing are learned behaviors – just like so many other surrendered for aggression cats have here. Sadly, Mango also seems to lack feline social skills. Instead of a stare-down or swishing tail warning, he will outright hit other cats. He 100% has a home here, but I can’t say how many friends he has. If you choose to tango with him, know that he likes human company and loves food even more. Obviously, don’t wear your best dress or any knitted sweaters, ’less you don’t mind having distressed threads and an untrendy ugly sweater afterward.
Blog and photos by Pauline Chin