Merran came in to us last July, the latest in a series of cats trapped by Stephanie at a nearby waste-processing facility.
Stephanie tells me that there is a resident male, definitely the dominant one, which she calls Tenor; his predecessor, who passed (probably from rat poison) was named Pavarotti. Both cats were predominantly white with black markings, and there are various other Sanctuary cats with that colouring which are probably Pavarotti’s offspring. When Stephanie first saw Merran there, she thought he was probably a young female, since the cat usually ran to Tenor for protection. The facility is a big area, and Stephanie’s usual pattern is to drive the circuit and see if any cats can be seen, and then to place the traps accordingly. She leaves them in place for an hour or so, and then rechecks. On this particular day, Merran was in the last trap to be picked up, though Steph and her trapping partner Karen (summer student) hadn’t seen any cats that far.
As a long-haired tabby, Merran’s very unlike most of what we think of as the “cow cats” and Stephanie thinks that there’s not just a resident colony there, but that someone dumps unwanted cats and kittens in the vicinity. It’s a heartbreaking situation, because RAPS will always take in strays, and living in the wild, their lives are usually dangerous and short.
Merran didn’t appreciate the fact that he’d come to safety in the Sanctuary, though – in a cage he hissed and cowered, and Leslie tells me he chewed his way through the mesh in short order. He was not happy about being recaptured, because after a second jail-break, he disappeared onto the deck, to wherever he could find cover – behind the couch, hidden behind a drape, crouched between the jugs of litter and the board that tops them.
And then gradually, gradually, he has started to emerge. He has made his way into the main room of the trailer – usually first thing in the morning or late at night. He prefers it when there’s only one person around, and is still wary, but he is definitely interested in human activity. He has joined the chicken club, hovering hopefully on the fringe when tidbits are being handed out; mostly he waits for something to be tossed his way, but if the pushier cats are not present, he will edge closer and accept a bit from the hand. He doesn’t seem to interact much with the other cats, though he has been seen snuggling on occasion,
and is quick to back away if challenged, but he no longer constantly looks fearful. The Kitty Comforters are very aware of him, and spend some time checking on him when visiting the SingleWide, and most of us feeding or cleaning in there watch for his presence.
We hope that, with other ferals who have turned the corner and gone on to interact comfortably with us, Merran will be another success story. Gilbert, Bossanova, Pumpkin and many others have been allowed to take their own time to integrate and feel part of the Sanctuary community; welcome to safety, and a home where you are loved, Merran!