As a volunteer, it’s all too easy at the Sanctuary to spend most of your time in specific areas, covering shifts, and then discover that there are a bunch of new cats you don’t know in another area. That is particularly so when it comes to black cats – and I especially struggle with identifying the front courtyard black ones.
So I found it interesting that in the last couple of months, I’ve had three black boys coming and “making nice” with me – though all three of them are not in fact pure black, but what I call flecked cats – black with little flecks of grey or white among the black fur.
The first of the three is Puddin’, introduced a few weeks ago; Puddin’ mostly hangs out in Pen 3, but likes to follow me round the back pens on a shift. He remains very affectionate, but is cautious, because his place on my lap is being invaded by Odin. Odin bases in Pen 1. He was very shy when he first arrived with us, but time with the staff (especially Alice) and Kitty Comforters has worked wonders, and now he comes running when he hears my voice, and demands lap-sitting and lots of petting.
The third is a front courtyard cat called Alvin. We think he’s around 9 years old, and was brought in to us by a local Samaritan who found him as a stray. It would be interesting to guess his background; he’s a friendly boy, so has obviously known human care and attention, but he was unneutered when he came to us, so hasn’t had good care. He’s been living stray for some time; he had bad teeth and a pellet lodged in his belly, so life has been tough.
Alvin is one of many cats in our care with CKD – Chronic Kidney Disease. It’s very common in cats, especially the older ones, and our med staff are careful to monitor those in early stages, and give fluids where necessary. Ideally, a cat with CKD should be on a special diet, but given our setup it’s not possible without caging him – what Alvin needs is a home where he can get the special food he requires. He would actually be a good candidate for fosterage; his CKD is in the early stages, and the right food is all he needs. Assistant Sanctuary Manager Valerie says that he would be a good candidate for foster-to-adopt.
Street life as a lone male has taught him to be a little wary around other cats, though he’s not aggressive; he is one of the cats who will often come running to greet me, and will jump up to sit beside me on the bench and then edge over onto my lap. He’s not a big boy, though like many other formerly unneutered males, he has chubby cheeks. He loves to be petted, and to be scritched around his ears; if someone else approaches – even someone as gentle as Little Orange – he gives way and scoots off.
You’ll generally find Alvin around the Connor House – snuggled into a bed at the back or on the porch – if he’s not on greeting duty. Now he knows and is comfortable with us, it will be interesting to see how he behaves when our Sunday visitors start coming – I hope he will make some new friends!