For some time after the establishment of Richmond Animal Protection Society, our focus remained on the care of animals in our own municipality – both those brought in as ferals and those surrendered to 5 Road. That remains the focus for the Shelter; we have the contract with the City of Richmond for animal care for animals brought in from within city limits, though now we are the Regional Animal Protection Society, we may be reaching further afield on occasion. But the Sanctuary is not funded by the city, and we have always worked with other shelters where possible, to ease a burden on what might be an organization with fewer resources than we have. Many of those cats have come in because they were FIV or FeLV positive, and the places they have come from are not able to deal with those health concerns. But we have also taken in groups of cats from other places in the province, where the burden of a group of ferals is not a tenable prospect in the local shelter.
Three or four years ago we were informed of a hoarding situation in the Kootenays, in which some of the many cats involved died. The nearest shelter was unable to deal with the surviving influx of largely feral cats, and we were one of the organizations that took on the refugees. Five cats came into our care; three were little black cats, very similar in appearance, and the other two were a pair of tortie girls, probably younger than the other three.
As usual, the newcomers were caged to give them time to settle in. The three little black cats went into the Connor, and were named Layla, Oscar and Spooky; all three showed no inclination to trust humans, and when finally released, they largely took to the cage-tops to stay out of our way. They do occasionally come within reach if treats are offered, but we are not their favourite thing!
The two torties were caged together in the Hill House; they were named Sage and Silky, and because they were younger, we hoped we might have a chance of taming them.
Silky proved minimally approachable; Sage was very shy. Because we were reluctant to let them loose too soon, to maintain their feral ways, they were transferred to a separate room in the Moore House. Most of the Moore House inhabitants are geriCatrics, but the so-called Kitten Room is kept to give groups of cats the chance to interact with our Kitty Comforters.
They were joined there by Cricket and Beetle – similarly, half-grown kittens – and another little black one, Frisky. Volunteers and staff alike spent time with them – mostly without a great deal of obvious progress. Treats were accepted, but none of the five really wanted to interact with visitors.
There is only so long we can keep the Kitten Room free before it’s needed for somebody else. The decision was made to release all five teenagers into the front courtyard and see how they would do. The big winner with this decision was Cricket, who blossomed with freedom, and has become Miss Popular with humans and cats alike. Beetle and Frisky largely hang out in the feral cat area next to the Hill House and have joined the population of little black cats that are so hard to tell apart; they’re not terrified ferals, but they would rather be apart.
Sage and Silky began in the same area, but quickly discovered the window that leads through to the Hill House; whether it felt familiar to them or it was just more comfortable, I don’t know, but it rapidly became their space, and they interacted with cats like Jamie, Daniel, and Tracy who were enjoying human attention. Sage and Silky jumped right on the bandwagon.
Silky is the more outgoing of the two, and the more active in her play; both love to chase feather toys, but when it comes to being petted, Silky is more territorial than her sister. If you’re paying attention to her, you’d better not be paying attention to other cats! and offers little love-nips; she likes to be with other cats, while Silky is more independent.