Tom came to us last year, having been brought in as a feral cat. Among the many black cats at the Sanctuary, he is distinguished by the little flecks of white in his fur, and by his stocky build, with the chunky cheeks of the unneutered male cat.
He is sponsored by long-time volunteer Elizabeth, who found him living wild near her home, fed him and eventually trapped and brought him in. Elizabeth tells me that he was quite the lover-boy; a neighbour had a little tortie who used to escape, and at least one litter of kittens was Tom’s responsibility – three black and one white. After Tom came into our care the little tortie had another litter – and then was surrendered to RAPS for spaying and fostering.
In our care, Tom was neutered, and caged as we usually do, to give us time to assess his behaviour and his possible relationship with humans. However, he did NOT approve of a cage. Very determinedly he found the weak spot, and bust out of jail. A second attempt to cage him had the same result, at which point we decided that he might as well join the party!
And that was really all Tom wanted. He’s not really cat-social; he chooses to avoid other cats, though he can stand up for himself if Sid or grey Gizmo get pushy. He wants his independence – in typical cat-style, he wants to make his own decisions. T.S.Eliot would have characterized him as a Rum-Tum-Tugger – “he WILL do what he DO do – and there’s no doing anything about it!”
He quite enjoys human attention – and he loves it when Elizabeth comes to visit him. She is one of our senior volunteers, and a retired nurse; when Elizabeth has cleaned one of the back pen cabins, you know that it’s clean! Tom likes to be around her – and if she’s not about, he has taken to competing with black Ninja in the sport of sneaking past a volunteer’s legs to get into a closed pen. He doesn’t actually want to interact with the cats in the pen – he just wants to be on the other side of the gate, and if you don’t spot him and eject him (which is part of the fun), he will be found waiting to be released whenever another volunteer comes past!