Tradition holds that black cats are the symbols for Halloween – but with an abundance of pumpkins around, this Halloween I’d rather think about the Sanctuary’s crop of orange cats.
Pumpkin is obviously a great name for an orange cat – in fact, I’m surprised we have had only two Pumpkins at the Sanctuary – one a feral leukemia cat, now passed, and our current Pumpkin, who was actually named more for his orange eyes than for his pale orange colouring.
This Pumpkin is mostly an inhabitant of the Newcomers area; he’s an excellent example of a semi-feral cat who appreciates humans bearing food, but is not really happy about all the touchy-feely stuff – he will allow a little stroke here and there, and he’s a long way from being the angry feral that came in to us, but he prefers to stay at arm’s length, other than with specially favoured visitors like Moira.
The intense orange of a good pumpkin is better echoed in the colouring of a cat like Simba. This sweet boy came to us as one of the first from a closing shelter on the Sunshine Coast; since the pen he was in has been opened, Simba has enjoyed the chance to wander and make new friends.
He excels at finding laps and making himself comfortable – and as all cat-lovers know, there’s no better therapy than a purring cat in the lap. Apparently he was initially surrendered as a pee-er – probably a protest against not being allowed outside. Here at the Sanctuary he has outside privileges in safety, and lots of friends to love him.
OJ is not only pumpkin-coloured, he’s also pumpkin-shaped! He is one of the few cats in pen 4 (ferals) who will allow touch, and it usually needs to be accompanied by treats.
We recently opened pen 2, all the inhabitants of whom had come to us last year from the Five Road shelter. Some of that colony have stayed safely in the area they know, but others have enthusiastically ventured out to explore. Parry is one of those cats, happily visiting with volunteers in the tea-room or poking his nose into the double-wide. His orange friend Pavel is much more wary about passing the gate…
A long-time back courtyard feline pumpkin is Albi, though his solid-orange coat is a darker shade than Parry or Simba. Another semi-feral, Albi will cautiously allow touch, though he’s obviously not that enthusiastic about it.
Another pumpkin-shaped orange cat lives in the Single-Wide; Paylan came in with Mom Marisa (now passed). After several years living with us, a vet-visit informed us that “he” was “she” and the renamed Sarah Paylan can usually be found tucked away on a shelf. She belongs to the school of cat behaviour that calls for as little exertion as possible – hence the shape! We do have several other orange female cats (statistically, 95% of orange cats are male) but most of them are orange and white, and only Blanche and Paylan are predominantly ginger.
The front courtyard also has a good collection of orange cats – sweet Gilbert, shy Lucky, brothers Henrik (in the Val Jones area) and Daniel, as well as orange and white Tigger.
But a feature on our pumpkin-coloured cats wouldn’t be complete without a look at the not-so-small Little Orange, friend and protector of Merilee, worshiper of Sunday visitor Allison, and one of the softest-furred cats in the Sanctuary.