Zivko came to us one of a group of cats “graduated” to us from the City Shelter about six years ago. Sometimes cats don’t do well at the Shelter for one reason or another, and they may be very hard to adopt out. This particular group, placed into Pen 2, included slightly aggressive cats (like Sophie), cats with bad bathroom habits (like Celeste) and many very shy cats. I blogged about them in three separate sessions, of which “Too Many Tabbies” was the second, introducing the personalities that were Sophie and Celeste, Calvin and Chase, and Zivko. The latter was definitely one of the shyer cats, and spent much of that first summer hiding in the back of the pen.
As the years have passed, Zivko’s purrsonality has bloomed. Once Pen 2 was opened, its inhabitants sorted themselves into the ones who preferred to remain in known territory, and those who decided they were outta there. Sophie is a TeaRoom cat; Celeste lives in the DoubleWide, Minnow and Tubby (both of whom have passed now) also preferred to be around the TeaRoom. Zivko remained where he was for a while, and then largely relocated to Pen 1, where he has established himself as the leader of a “boys’ club”. There is evidently some magnetic attraction, because when he calls out, they come running to be with him.
Ringo came to us at much the same time as the Pen 2 cats, but was trapped near the hospital. His companion, Guinness, was diabetic, and sadly, we got him too late to be able to get it under control. Ringo was one of those always-terrified ferals.
When finally released from his cage, he made his way to the DoubleWide Deck and climbed into the highest, most inaccessible corner, refusing to be tempted by treats or toys. We simply had to let him be, and give him time to make his own moves. Gradually, he was more frequently reported being seen inside the DoubleWide – preferably when there was nobody but the med staff around. It took about two years for him to venture through the laundry room to the DW door and to the courtyard access. He stuck there for a while – he didn’t want to go inside again, but he didn’t want to leave familiarity completely, so he holed up in one of the beds hidden by the steps.
Gradually Ringo has progressed into being a back courtyard cat. He’s most often found out and around at early morning and in the evening, and tucks himself away in his entrance-area bed most of the day. He reminds me of that loner kid at school who can’t quite break in on all the social groups, and quietly entertains himself. He likes to poke around in the flower-beds and will occasionally find something to play with. He is one of those cats who has a fascination with his own tail-tip, and (tubby boy that he is) rolls around trying to catch it. He doesn’t want human attention – he would prefer that we didn’t actually look at him – but he’s beginning to realise that nobody is out to hurt him. Despite his build, he’s not really food-motivated, though he is starting to accept treats as long as they are tossed to him – there’s no way he will accept food from the hand.
Ringo’s biggest discovery has been Zivko – and he has a serious crush on his buddy. Zivko already has a following: his friends from Pen 2 – Pavel and Booty and Kevin – and they’ve teamed up with the ginger boys in Pen 1 – Juvie and Chumley and Siskel. But any time Ringo sees Zivko, he hurries to be with him, following wherever he goes, anxious not to be left behind. He doesn’t seem to have migrated to living with the others, and isn’t part of the lounging parties in Pen 1, but his anxiety to be with Zivko probably means that it’s not far away. This is not the mutual bromance we saw with Vesper and Fable; it’s pretty one-sided, but Zivko is accepting and tolerant about it.
Both cats are still very much ferals. Zivko doesn’t fear us in the way that Ringo does, but he’s not friendly, as his former friends Calvin and Chase have proved to be. And that’s just fine. We’re always excited when a feral makes the breakthrough in relating to humans for pleasurable contact, but we also accept it that some will never make that breakthrough and will likely always remain reserved. That’s a big part of why we are what we are – cats who remain feral are not seen as failures, but just accepted as “that’s the way things are at RAPS Cat Sanctuary”