The Pen 2 cats were introduced in a recent blog, with some specific focus on the black, and black-and-white inhabitants.
I hesitated over tackling an introduction to the cats in this pen, because five of them are at first sight seemingly identical tabbies, and it’s difficult to tell them all apart until you spend real time with them. All of them have the characteristic tabby M marking on their foreheads, but their subtler markings vary. Most tabbies have lines that appear to go from the corners of their eyes, and may run parallel or otherwise; it’s worth looking also for cheek markings and for the chest rings that may run cleanly or be interrupted.
The most outgoing and confident of the Pen 5 tabbies is Sophie – she frequently meets visitors at the gate and demands attention. Sophie is a tubby-tabby, and not afraid to indulge in leg-rubs; she solicits petting, but really wants it to consist mainly of head-rubbing, and she is quick to object when the hand moves too far down her back.
Insofar as a tabby can be elegant, it’s personified (catified) in Calvin. He is leggy and streamlined; his facial markings are the easiest to distinguish, because the outer strokes of his M marking are brown smudges rather than black lines. Both he and his buddy Chase have yellow eyes; Chase has the clearer M marking, and his cheek lines are slightly divergent, where Calvin’s are more convergent. Chase is a bit more wary of human contact than Calvin, who, like Sophie, solicits petting.
Calvin is photographer Michele Wright’s favourite of the Pen 2 cats, and her affection is clear in the beautiful pictures she takes of him.
The other tabby that is easy to distinguish is Celeste, who has the most beautiful big round green eyes – they remind me of the eyes of our recently departed Sophie’s, in the Moore House.
Celeste is a bit smaller than the others, and her M marking has a strong dark strokes on the outside. She has dark under-eye shading and convergent cheek-lines.
Looking very like Sophie, but much less outgoing is Zivko. His tabby M markings are much darker, the outer strokes being black smudges, and his cheek markings are more varied than Sophie’s clear lines. He also has a small white chest-spot. He does not want to be petted – he would rather stay away from humans, but when approached, regards the finger offered for sniffing with great disdain; his expression says “You expect me to bunt against THAT?”
A challenge to volunteers to get to know these five! When pen 2 is opened in a month or so, they’ll be venturing out – and then we have to be able to distinguish them from Stella and LouLou and Jody and the many other back-courtyard tabbies in our care.