In his younger days, Ben lived on a farm where the people misguidedly thought they could force him to be a dedicated mouser. He was brought to RAPS when it was felt he might enjoy a better life at the sanctuary. Seeing Ben in action, you can see that he flourishes in a place like RAPS where his social nature can be nurtured. It seems whenever I go into the new AIDS building, I find Ben laying quietly with another cat, at least until I sit down, then its lap time.
I’ve read many stories about cats, dogs and other animals that can sense physical or emotional sickness. Cats are frequently described as aloof and independent creatures, but when you take the time to really get to know a cat, you often find that this description is largely unjustified, and such is the case with Ben. When I go to the sanctuary every Wednesday night after work weighted with the stress of my day, it only seems natural to be drawn to a cat like Ben. After a good cuddle, I feel lighter than air.
Update by Claire, November 1, 2011: Sadly, Ben has now left us, having passed away in his sleep on Sunday. After easing the passing of others, I’m glad that he had a gentle passing himself.