A common introduction for visitors to the Sanctuary cats follows entry into the Double-wide trailer. As in most areas, cats who are eager for human contact hang around within reach, but there is always a little crowd up on the top of the cages – anxious for attention, but not quite sure that they want to be too close to hands. Waving paws and cute poses are intended to attract attention – and treats.
The common culprits, when I first came to RAPS, were this little bunch – Shadrack, Dekka, Minky and Danny. We’ve lost the last two in the intervening years, but Shadrack and Dekka love their treats so much that they’ve lost all their fear of humans and are eager for petting (especially if chicken is offered!)
Shadrack came to the Sanctuary in 2010 with his brother Shakey from a situation at a cement plant where they were trapped and brought to safety. Shakey, as you might guess from the name, had a neurological condition that made him a little unsteady on his paws. One of our volunteers fell in love with him, and adopted him to a home where he would be kept safe.
Volunteer Chris Stewart, who knew them both, said that Shakey was friendly from the start, but Shadrack was more wary of humans and not ready to be handled. Once his brother had been adopted, he joined the cage-top crowd, where he could mooch just out of arms-reach.
Safety, of course, is moot: when there’s another aggressive cat on the cage-top, sometimes you’re safer on the floor.
Gradually Shadrack became more relaxed, and joined not only the crowd on the floor, but also the crowd out in the gardens.
He’s not an easy cat to photograph – he’s one of those very active boys, constantly on the move – and the common reaction to a camera focus is to investigate it as closely as possible.
With me he’s become more and more affectionate; he’s not yet ready to be picked up and cuddled, but the paws come up on my lap, and he kneads and blinks his love. Chicken is a bonus – he’s another of the chicken-addicts (though not as extreme as Owl!) but even when there are no goodies, he enjoys being fussed over.