Cat Sanctuary


It’s not easy to write about a cat who’s rarely sighted and then only fleetingly, as elusive as his name. However, since Shadow was mentioned in his brother Chateaux’ blog, it’s only fair that his story be told too.


A good-looking all-grey boy, Shadow (formerly known by the slightly more appropriate name of Ashes), came to the sanctuary about nine months ago.  He and Chateaux had been adopted from another shelter but their new person wasn’t able to deal with the needs of two young semi-feral boys. They never had the opportunity to become affectionate or even trusting around people, so they were surrendered to RAPS. Unfortunately, Shadow tested positive for feline AIDS so came directly to the Cat Sanctuary, while Chateaux stayed on at the City Shelter for eight more months before being transferred to the Sanctuary.


Shadow lives in the New Aids area, where he started out in a cage, hissing and spitting at anyone who dared to open the cage door. If I squished myself into the cage beside him and talked to him quietly for a while, he’d calm down enough to let me put my hand near him and sometimes even allowed a quick whisker rub or two.  Now that he’s no longer caged, he dashes outside whenever a scary human being enters the building.
Phaedra, who knows and loves the New Aids cats better than most of us, says that he has big trust issues – that when he’s caged he will allow himself to be petted, but when he’s not in a cage, the room isn’t large enough for him. The usual sighting of him is a grey streak heading out through the cat door. Once outside, he scoots behind the lattice board leaning up against the wall and peers out suspiciously – though he does seem to be interested in comings and goings, and Phaedra’s pictures of him were taken while he was watching her clean out the rabbit pen.


Only once did I find him inside the New AIDS building, sitting quietly under one of the big scratching posts, with no escape route towards the cat door. Much to my surprise, he stayed where he was while I approached him ever so slowly and then he let me give him a quick little ear and cheek rub. Very nice, until he realized that he could still get away from me by slipping under a nearby chair!  That was enough human contact for him for one day, but very encouraging for me.


He’s warming up slowly – but on his own time schedule.  Just the other day, when he was sunning himself on the outside tiles and I was handing out treats and catnip, he let me get within a few feet of him so there’s still hope that he’ll become friendly one day. Would it help if we got his name right, I wonder?

Blog by Marianne Moore
Photos by Brigid Coult, Phaedra Hardman & Marianne Moore