When the No 5 Road shelter starts getting really cat-full, staff have to start taking a look at the cats that have been there for a while without being adopted. We want to give them every chance to find a new home, but being in such close quarters to many other cats has to be stressful, and sometimes a transfer to the Sanctuary brings some much-needed breathing space. Some of the cats who have come to us recently have come because they were surrendered for peeing, and it’s always difficult to know if that’s a stress reaction in a home, which then is exacerbated in a crowded shelter situation. Aggression is a similar problem; in tight quarters, a cat may feel that it has no way out but to assert itself and pick a fight. At the other end of the spectrum, a very shy cat can feel overwhelmed at the Shelter, and not show itself willing to interact with humans.
Pancake is one of the litter of kittens that came to us with feral mom Autumn in October 2012. All his brothers and sisters were adopted out, but Pancake is very shy, and preferred to hide in a corner and avoid people. And he hid, effectively, for two and a half years, with no adoption prospects.
His one friend was Sid. Sid suffers from the double whammy of shelter-aggression and black-cat-itis. It’s surprising how many people look at a black cat as simply a black cat, and don’t see the personality there. Sid is not a nasty cat, but he can be a bit hyper; he throws his weight around with other cats, and sooner or later there’s trouble.
Pancake and Sid were transferred to the Sanctuary in April, and put in one of the large cages in the double-wide together. They get along very well; Sid’s dominance is willingly accepted by Pancake, and there’s never been any sign of fighting. The two of them snuggle in one bed; they eat their dinner side by side; they’re happy to accept human attention, so long as it’s quiet and gentle.
Once the cage door was opened, we could see why these two might have been passed over. Sid swaggered out, prepared to stand his ground with the other cats, occasionally getting swatted, and starting the inevitable fight. He enjoys being out in the back courtyard, and is finding his balance.
Pancake mostly remains in the cage, even though he is quite free to roam – he’s found his safe place and he doesn’t want to be shifted. He is quite happy to accept petting, as long as he can do so from a raised position – like Bossanova in the single-wide, he’s a fraidy-cat at floor-level and much more confident at eye-level.
And since Sid keeps getting put in time-out, the two buddies are brought together again, which is what they like best. In fact, even when he’s behaving well, Sid returns to the cage occasionally to check on his friend, and to let him know he’s not been abandoned – even when cats like Booster and Max decide to visit and take over the lounging space.
These two are a classic Adopt Two Cats situation. Neither is really happy without the other. Sid gives Pancake a bit more confidence; Pancake gives Sid a quiet place to cuddle. I’m not surprised they didn’t show well at the Shelter, but it would be wonderful if a cat-less person could find it in their heart to offer a home together to these two sweet boys.