Cat Sanctuary

A Gentle Tortie

We sometimes label people as having “attitude”, which, for felines of course translates as “cattitude”. “Tortitude” is often affectionately attributed to a cat with a tortoiseshell or calico coat who displays extreme attitude. Torties are characterized as feisty, strong-willed furry-coated divas – and we’ve had our share of them at the Sanctuary.

Our beloved KitKat, who has just passed, was very much the queen of the front courtyard; in the DoubleWide you will inevitably encounter Lunette (dubbed “lunatic” in her early days) and in the back courtyard, most of the cats know to stay out of the way of pretty, feisty Princess.  Long-term volunteers will have memories of Emily and Treacle, and many others who displayed various degrees of tortitude.

But like many characterizations, it’s a fallacy. Sisters Blaze and Toes are sweet girls with not an ounce of sass, and the same can be said for little Chelsea.

Chelsea is another of the cats who came to us from Sammy’s Forgotten Felines, in Kamloops; she arrived in the summer of 2021. We heard that she had been sharing space with some leukemia-positive cats, but testing showed her to be clear, and it was decided to release her into the front courtyard. She came to us because she had been labelled as a feral, but her timidity felt more like shyness than fear, and over her time with us, she has become increasingly outgoing, approaching to ask for petting and coming for lap-time.

She bases herself around the Hill House, though she roams the front courtyard freely.  Physically she reminds me very much of our beloved Daisy, but without the chromosomal abnormalities – she’s small, with a shorthaired dense coat. Like so many other torties, she has golden eyes which “pop” against her dark colouring.  She tends to be a loner – she doesn’t socialize much with the other cats, but neither does she show any aggression to them; she doesn’t display any territoriality (unlike her Hill House predecessor, Treacle!).

She prefers to be above floor level when asking for attention, and will “play cute” on the shelf to ask for pets; in the courtyard she can often be found on the ledges around the trees, and though not one for athletic leaping, like Melon and Honeydew, she enjoys some wand play if there aren’t too many cats around.

We’ll be watching her this spring when we open to visitors again, and hope that her sociability extends to strangers; right now it’s probably too soon to think about finding her a home, but if the right person fell in love with her…

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Graham Akira, Melanie Draper, Karen Nicholson, Michelle Wright