In the first blog introducing the Pen 2 cats we met the two blacks – Kevin and Palma – and the two tuxedos – Booty and Tubby. Last week’s introduction was to the tabbies: Calvin, Chase, Sophie, Celeste and Zivko. All the cats in this week’s group have the gene that gives rise to orange colouring in one format or another. The majority of orange cats are male – statistically only about 5% are female – but it is the orange gene that can give a female cat either tortoiseshell colouring (black and orange) or calico colouring (white and orange – generally with some black). And torties and calicos are always female.
I have noted in other blogs that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between one black cat and another. That can also be true of the coloured cats – sometimes the identity is clear; sometimes it’s only subtle markings or behaviour that distinguishes one cat from another.
There are three orange males in Pen 2. The most friendly and outgoing of the three is Parry, who loves to have human attention, and is always eager to be fussed over. The pale tail-tip is a giveaway of his identity. Also friendly, but preferably at ground level, is peachy-orange Taffy; he was caged for a while for health reasons, and the Kitty Comforters obviously made him feel happier about human contact.
The third orange boy is Pavel – with no white tail-tip, and much more shy than Parry, he will often be found snuggling with someone on an upper shelf in the hut, or hiding out in the undergrowth at the back of the pen.
All the other coloured cats are female. Paula is classic calico; white fur with strong orange and black markings. She is pretty shy, preferring to hide out with Pavel in the hut, or just out of reach. She will accept treats as long as you don’t get too close!
Minnow is another calico, with much paler colouring; she is outgoing and friendly, and clearly pretty dominant in the colony.
The remaining two cats are dilute torties – the strong colouring of regular torties like KitKat, Blaze and Toes in the front courtyard takes on a much more subtle shade in Barbie and Salina. Barbie’s colour-markings are clearer than her buddy’s, and she is pettable, especially if treats are on offer; Salina is much more muted in colour, and she can be clearly distinguished by a little white dot on her nose; she is much more skittish and wary about interaction with humans.
Sanctuary Manager Janet Reid tells me that we will probably be opening up Pen 2 sometime in the near future. If these ones follow the pattern of other cats from opened pens, we will probably find that the majority will continue to make Pen 2 their base, even as the braver ones start exploring the full range of the back courtyard.