Cat Sanctuary


Alexandria – KN

One of the big Sanctuary Events of last summer was the arrival of more than 40 cats and kittens into our care, mainly thanks to the efforts of Leslie and the med staff.  The initial story was told in the blog entry Can there be such a thing as Too Many Kittens?

Kitten pile – LL

As we move into 2020, things are settling down. Most of the youngest kittens have been socialized and adopted out; some of the older ones – likely unneutered strays rather than ferals – are making themselves comfortable in the Val Jones pen with the friendlier FIV+ cats.  Pen 6 is still the home of a group of charming but very wary teens;  their progress will be encouraged by our cat whisperers, but at the moment it’s arms-length contact only – though they’re certainly displaying curiosity.

Aphrodite – KN


The young queen Juno – LBF

One of the reasons the feral colony ballooned so quickly is that young females come into heat at as little as 4-6 months, and once kittens start producing kittens the only way to curb it is to trap and neuter them all.  We have our share of small female cats in the Sanctuary who are often mistaken by visitors for kittens, and we have to explain that when a young malnourished female gives birth to a litter, she may never make her full adult size, because all her resources go to nurturing her offspring.

Little Simone and her big boy Bantam – MW

One of the trapped cats turned out to be a pregnant mama like this. Alexandria surprised everyone at the shelter when she suddenly gave birth to four or five kittens.  Probably because she was so young, some of the kittens didn’t survive, but she and the two living ones went into fosterage with one of our most experienced kitten nurturers. She proved to be a good mother – almost too good, because she was very protective of her babies, and very hard to handle.  Once they were independent, she was spayed and re-settled at the Sanctuary – as a feral, she was not a candidate for adoption, though both her kittens were adopted.

Alexandria – LBF

With no more kittens to protect, Alexandria was more amenable to advances from the Kitty Comforters. Once released from her cage, she was quick to explore and to socialize with other cats.

Alexandria has no sense of personal space;
Moxie is tolerant – KN

Among other little black cats, it’s easy to distinguish her by her distinctive chest and toe marking – which proved useful, when her exploring took the form of tree-climbing!

Satisfaction, once she’s up! – KN

She’s pretty fearless, and a challenge to Gizmo, who’s the other serious tree-climber. Neither one will be particularly happy when the tree has to be felled – unfortunately, it’s not in healthy shape, and needs to be replaced.  We will need to bear in mind the need for some sort of climbing frame to replace it!

“I’m higher than you!” – KN

As for relationships with humans – she likes to play with wand toys, but she’s not much into a lot of petting, though Leslie says she will approach for nose-touches.  She has all the time she needs to decide when and if she is ready to trust us.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Leslie Landa, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright