Another blog from Sanctuary volunteer Pauline Chin
Spring 2019 brought in 3 young feral cats – Luke, Taylor, and Gomez (introduced here). They were all estimated to be about a year old. With his loving personality, the master biscuit maker Gomez was quickly whisked away for adoption.
While Gomez and Taylor were clearly kittens, Luke appeared filled out in a full-sized body. If I had to guess, he was either a singleton wanting company, or a brother from a prior litter. Luke is the most feral of the bunch; he chooses to live on the back deck and has befriended other ferals. He’s curious enough to peek at us, but not socialize.
Little black Taylor divides his time between the deck and being in the trailer. The reason? Toys! Although he keeps a gap around people, his kitten spirit sparkles when he sees new toys. While caged, he played with balls when no one was looking. Within a month, he became open about it and didn’t care if we were standing nearby.
After he was released from the cage, he took a fancy to a certain toy wand. The irresistible sound of tassels lures Taylor over within seconds. The same sound also brings out shy, grey Bubbles. What’s beautiful is this pair will play with the wand at the same time. There’s no competition or hissing. Bubbles sits behind Taylor and patiently waits for the toy to fly over to him. Taylor will watch if Bubbles has it in his grasp.
Taylor loves to reach up and grab at the wand. He can jump, but will more likely lean on his hind legs and stretch his lanky body. It’s amusing to see him upright, with his teeth and tongue out. I wonder if he’s aware of his funny facial expressions? He also enjoys the ring toy. He’ll charge into it and push it around the floor. Taylor is a catnip fan and revels in carrying off the little pillows.
Bubbles plays more gently than other cats. He’ll sit upright and either grab a toy, try to catch between his paws, or pin it to the floor. He doesn’t make a deadly swat or lunge. Occasionally, he’ll pounce (more like hop) onto the toy. The thing that spooks Bubbles away is people talking loudly. He’ll vanish to the deck and return once the noises are gone. The pom pom tassels are just that enticing to him.
After 3 months, Taylor’s kitten wonderment has waned. Although he doesn’t pursue the toys as heartily, he still wants to see the sights and sounds. Sometimes he uses the litterbox as a cover to watch the action. New toys pique his interest. He’s one of those “I’ll play, but don’t touch me” cats. Out on the deck, he’s more suited to quiet attention.
Unlike Taylor, Bubbles still adores the wand. These days, it’s more likely to find Dazzle and Delilah hovering nearby for a chance at this magical toy. Perhaps it’s the only toy of its kind here? It’s always a plus to see Bubbles outside the deck. He’s a cat who needs more self-confidence and the chance to explore the grounds.
When Taylor wants downtime, he’ll go find Luke or Bodhi and share cuddles. For being labeled “all-feral”, he’s made incredible progress in his first few months and has settled in now. Most cats are content to receive their favourite foods, while others want physical affection. For Taylor, nothing makes him happier than being surrounded by toys. With all the volunteers around, he and all the resident cats are guaranteed a lifetime supply!
Photos by Pauline Chin, Vicky Lo, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright