Cats have a reputation as loners – Kipling’s story of “The Cat That Walked By Himself” is not only a great story, but also something of an archetype. And we certainly have plenty of cats in the Sanctuary who do prefer to be alone.
But not always – for some of them, relationships with other cats are very important. They may be family relationships, or comfort, or just “how things are”. We will often find the same groups of cats in the same place – like the group that hang out in the space outside the SingleWide, or the Pen 3 cats who tend to operate together. And sometimes the bond is more focused than that. All our cats are spayed and neutered, so sex doesn’t come into it – but it’s not just a matter of hormones; sometimes two cats just belong together.
Vesper came into our care in late 2017 when he and his buddy Fable were surrendered for peeing. The owners didn’t know who the culprit was, and we think it may have been stress peeing because of children, in any case, but they arrived together and stayed together. We talked about their “bromance”; you would occasionally encounter them apart, but they loved to snuggle. And then Fable passed, and Vesper was left on his own.
Kiwi came to us about a year later, one of a group of nine cats from a rescue in Alberta. Some of them proved to be FIV+ and moved to Old Aids, but the front courtyard welcomed grey Shiver (now gone), black Salem, and the calico sisters, Melon, Honeydew and Kiwi. All were pretty feral, and it’s taken time for them to learn that humans are the source of great petting and tidbits.
The three girls are all pretty cat-social, and usually hang out in the same area, around the Connor building. Most recently, Kiwi is more frequently found IN the Connor, snuggling with Vesper. The flirt is mutual, unlike the one-sided relationship of Dusty and Lincoln (she adores him and follows him around; he just ignores her!). Kiwi and Vesper groom each other, and it’s anyone’s guess as to which one will move first and who will follow.
The two of them aren’t all touchy-feely out in the courtyard, though they’re often found close to each other. Right now, in the warmth of the summer weather, the Connor is the cool (air-conditioned) place to be. But it will be interesting to watch and see if the snuggles continue and the relationship heats up!
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Melanie Draper, Marla Jenkins,
Joanne Nicholson, Karen Nicholson, Debbie Wolanski
Feature image: “Vesper & Kiwi” by Joanne Nicholson