For an area known fondly as the Wet Coast, it’s not often that moisture and arctic cold combine to give Metro-Vancouver a dose of snow – but it looks as if this may be one of those winters. The rest of Canada laughs, of course, but Vancouverites are alternately excited and exasperated by snow days. We are known as the largest cat sanctuary in the country, but that is made possible by our usually temperate weather – imagine trying to care for cats outdoors in other parts of Canada! But when the snow hits, a whole lot of issues arise.
Volunteers go missing – not willingly, but traffic problems, erratic public transport and nervous drivers inevitably means that those of us who can make it are frequently doing more that one area, or filling in for someone else. Our first snow was last Monday, and when I arrived to sub for someone doing the morning cleaning at the Moore House, it was to an untouched driveway and parking lot – the med-staff that morning had arrived early enough that their tracks were already covered.
The tracks that were obvious, of course, were the little paw-prints on the steps, probably created by cats who sleep on the porch, but prefer not to use the wood-chip litter-box provided, heading across the courtyard to one of the other boxes.
Friday saw the next dump of snow, and once again we were short-handed. Handy-man Doug had cleared paths between buildings and already they were becoming covered again.
A few cats braved the cold to see what was going on.
My Friday morning assignment is the back pens. Luckily morning snow was light, but the ceramic heaters in each cabin ensured that the majority of cats decided that this was a day for sleeping in. Even the ferals, who usually make a dash for the cat-door, preferred to remain where they were and hiss at me from the security of a box.
Occasional cats could be seen venturing out, but the majority of those who found their way outside preferred to do so from a position of shelter – or at least, a dry bottom!
and heat lamps, wherever they could be found, were the preferred site for a cuddle-puddle.
By the time of the evening shift, it was clear that we would be short-handed, and I returned to do the evening feeds in the single-wide trailer. Doug was working with the snow shovel to give better access in the back courtyard and the sanctuary under snow and light was quite beautiful.
Beauty unappreciated by the cats – they were all tucked away in bed!