Cat Sanctuary

Meet the Gatecrashers

Our blog this week comes to you from volunteer Pauline Chin, who is a Kitty-Comforter and who supervises the Double-Wide trailer on Sundays during visiting hours. 
For blog readers who are not Sanctuary visitors, a word of explanation: at crucial points in the Sanctuary we have a double gate system – at the front entrance, at the entrance to the back yard, and at the Moore House, Old Aids and New Aids entries. Most pen entrances are single gates.
Pauline writes:
Regulars know about the one-gate-at-a-time rule when it comes to moving through the double gates to ensure cats stay on their respective sides.  Volunteers are quick to point out if a double gate is left open. This is important with the front set of gates, as it’s the last chance to stop any adventurous cats from escaping the safety of the Sanctuary.

Hurry up and let me through! – BC

On occasion, cats make it through a gate. Cats have their reasons… It could be curiosity, boredom, looking for a quiet zone… Two popular gatecrashers are Cole and Ninja. Both are large black cats. Both can go relatively unnoticed by visitors, simply because they are black.

Ninja – MW

Athletic Ninja should star in his own movie.  Ninja really is a ninja as he really can get around the Back Courtyard at blazing speed, seemingly invisible to humans.  Ninja appreciates the company of humans, but infiltrating the back pens is so much more fun than cuddles. Sometimes he hides in the plants. Sometimes, he stands near the planters. Other times, he appears out of nowhere. We look around… No cats in sight. All clear. The pen gate is open for a whole four seconds and a black figure swoops in.

Doing Ninja moves – MW

Cue the chase sequence. A volunteer runs around the pen, arms outstretched, trying to grab the intruder. Scenario A: the volunteer captures Ninja in loving hands and promptly places him outside the gate.  Scenario B: Ninja dodges and dives into the bushes, eluding capture, the volunteer gives up and leaves, defeated. When we can’t win against the Ninja… he sits in the pen until someone else lets him out. So whose win is it anyway?

Cole likes to be on the other side of a door;
a laundry cupboard works perfectly well! – KN

Infamous Cole of the Laundry Room arrived over a year ago.  He was huge, heavy, and very particular about who can touch him.  These days, he is leaner, with long legs and a lengthy body – a similar build to our late Bengal Lucky.  He likes the ledge by the window, which is sometimes occupied by Emery. Cole enjoys some human attention. He doesn’t seek it out, but doesn’t mind petting.  He can handle about 3-4 humans in a room, max. Otherwise, he will go search for a quiet space. His favourite area is the middle gates.  Volunteers have been warned and keep a vigilant eye on him. It’s only when Cole gatecrashes repeatedly in a short time that we have to place him in a timeout. It’s for his own safety; we don’t want him to walk out the front door.

Slim – MW

What is it with these black cats?  The grass is definitely greener for black Slim, in the front courtyard. Slim came to us with a reputation for aggression, but in his time with us he has both mellowed out, and put on weight, so Slim is perhaps no longer such an appropriate name. He loves to sneak through the first gate and reach out towards the grass beyond the main entrance – and he loves the visitors who bring cat grass as their offering.

Jasper waiting to get into Newcomers – MW

The newest member of the gatecrashers club is Jasper. This brown and white tabby has been moved around plenty.  He’s hyperactive, happy, and loves games. Play gets rough for us humans when he thinks our hands are toys.  Since moving to the Front Courtyard, Jasper has been making his own entertainment – by rushing into the middle gates and earning himself a red collar. He’s been ejected out of the middle gates so many times and now tries for the Newcomers’ room door.


Ninja, Cole, and Jasper are by no means bad cats.  They just have different agendas.  Ever been told not to do something, and it just makes you want to do it even more?  Cats are inquisitive creatures.  We need to feed their minds with new things or experiences.  They definitely know how to train us humans to keep them entertained.  The next time you open a gate, check behind you because you never know who might be there.
Blog by Pauline Chin
Photos by Brigid Coult , Karen Nicholson & Michele Wright