Rookie came to us through long-term volunteers Barb and Waldi Trotzki. They have been associated with RAPS since before it existed as Richmond Homeless Cats, and their own collection of cats at home also includes strays that have discovered a place of safety. Their house backs onto a green belt with a lot of wildlife – prime hunting ground for a cat who finds itself in the great outdoors.
Rookie came to us in the winter of 2012/13 as an apparent stray. He tried to adopt us over the next two years, succeeding somewhat, in that we fed him, provided a place to sleep and shelter in bad weather, but our four male cats were not welcoming. We called him Rookie, as the newest member of the crew.
Rookie tried hard to boss his way into the family, and not being neutered, he was always looking for a confrontation with our other cats and there were numerous fights, some with injuries. He was friendly with both Waldi and I, let us pet him a little, but became quite excited quickly and did not hesitate to land a scratch or two, but always coming back and trying to move in. We liked him for his spirit and beauty and arranged for our house sitter to feed him when we were away.
Then in 2014, just two days before we were going on a lengthy holiday he came limping into the yard. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with a torn ligament. It meant either $1800 for surgery or six weeks cage rest. It was a good time to have him neutered and Leslie offered to board him in the Sanctuary, and as it turned out, a sanctuary it was for him.
Six weeks of rest, and Rookie was back in form. He was put into Pen 5, which has a nice group of cats, many of whom had come from the 5 Road Shelter after having gone unadopted for some time. Rookie settled in well – though he didn’t seem to be particularly close to any of the other cats, and he was often found in his favourite corner near the gate. He was always ready to welcome Barb and Waldi when they came to feed and clean up the back pens, or just to visit, and he had a serious fan-club among the other volunteers who worked in the back pens.
Recently we have opened up Pen 5, and Rookie was among the first to venture out. With immense confidence, he has investigated the area, made his presence known to other cats, and generally established his territory,
He is so sweet now, not the tough tomcat he used to be, I can pick him up, carry him around, he learned to purr, and is totally happy there. We hear from other volunteers that he comes when called by his name and follows people around. We sponsor him, feeling a bit guilty about having surrendered him, but it was the best thing that could have happened to him.