“Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters…”
In fact, we have no DNA evidence Topaz and Onyx are related by blood at all – they came in at separate times, and the vet estimated them at different ages. But they came from the same place, they look remarkably similar and they tend to be found together. Mostly, in the Sanctuary, we tend to think of them as Topaz-and-Onyx, and back when Claire introduced them on the Neko Blog, they were already an established pair.
They are part of the little-black-cat population in the back courtyard, joining Celia, Sara Lou and a few others in the “who is that cat?” reaction from volunteers. They are less easily confused with their black Sanctuary “brothers” Ninja, Tyson, Jay-Z, all of whom are larger and glossier; these two old ladies show their age with less energy and rougher fur. They’re among the semi-ferals; they prefer not to have a lot of human attention, but they’re ready to accept the odd treat, and they love chicken handouts.
We think that they are among the oldest cats in the Sanctuary; the vet’s original guesstimate at her age would put Topaz at 19+; they are among what we call the Donni-cats, coming to us from a hoarding situation. There are very few of those cats left – bob-tailed Huey and pretty Princess still live in the Double-Wide. Every day Topaz receives a dose of medication for a hyperthyroid condition; luckily she is more ready than her sister to enjoy human contact, which makes the medicating job easier.
Onyx, who is listed as being a couple of years younger (though it was an estimate, and she may be the same age as Topaz), is much less interested in human touch and will shy back from contact. When you see them together, it’s easier to distinguish them; separately, it’s possible to confuse the two.
When it gets colder, Topaz and Onyx will probably move back to the warmth of the laundry room; for some years their favoured turf was on top of the hot-water tank in the small storage room. That’s off-limits to cats now, but there are plenty of beds there where the old ladies can be cosy.
But for now, they’re loving the waning summer, finding places to lie together, and enjoying the sun and each other’s company.