Cat Sanctuary


Last fall our cat-trapping team had their attention seriously divided between a hoarding situation in Surrey and another cat-colony that appeared in Richmond in an industrial area. The hoarding situation was solved with the involvement of the SPCA and other rescue organizations; RAPS took in at least half a dozen cats who were semi-tame, are now well settled into Sanctuary life and might even graduate to eventual adoption.

The Christmas kittens – always cute!

The group from the industrial area were a very mixed bunch. There were several unneutered males, and inevitably pregnant moms and kittens to deal with. Many of the latter are up for adoption now – the Christmas kittens, named for Santa’s reindeer, and the Weather kittens – Storm, Lightning & Thunder Life in the Adoption Centre is busy! Some of the adults were easy with being handled; others were wary, so it’s hard to tell who might be a stray, with previous experience of humans, and who might be a true feral.

Cheech has settled; mostly in the Connor House (BC)

Tamale still spends most of his time hiding (KN) He just HAS to be Boston’s brother!

As is our custom, all new cats are snap-tested when they come to us, and with unneutered males, it was not surprising to find that at least one was FIV+ – FIV is passed on through bite wounds, which are common with cats who may fight over territory or potential mates. Chicharron and Tamale got a clean bill of health and were eventually released into the front courtyard, but Boston found himself living in the New Aids pen. Initially he was caged while he had his neuter surgery, and then of course he had the joy of wearing a “cone of shame”. First clue that this was not a typical feral – med-staff Molly tells me that when it came time to remove his collar, it had stuck and she had to take scissors to it. Removing a plastic collar from a feral cat is not a fun activity, but Boston was pretty calm (not happy, but calm!)

Boston’s early “don’t come too close” days (KC)

On release from a cage our New Aids newbies either go up on the top of the cages to be out of reach, or they go to the back of the pen, to the Prince of Wales enclosure (named for the school that donated it, not for HRH!). Boston was a back-of-the-pen boy, and could often be found in company with black Drake and orange Rocket. Rocket (brother to Sprocket in the back pens, and probably cousin to Mercury next door) has progressed from a frightened feral to a pet-me-pet-me boy – though you have to move quietly. Drake does NOT like human company, as you can see by his flattened ears – but he does seem to like Boston’s company, and can often be found near his buddy.

Boston, with Drake in the background (BC)

An elegant gentleman in a tux =(BC)

In the finer fall weather, Boston could often be found up on the roof of one of the cabins – whether getting away from things, or bird-watching, who knows…  Once it was colder he took possession of a cat-tree in P-of-W, and there he held court, establishing the centre for claiming his human worshippers.

Katy Cobb is the volunteer who works in New Aids on Tuesday evenings, and this boy has become a very special project for her. She writes: When I first met Boston in the summer he was a pretty typical feral guy. He would often hiss at me from the roof of the shed, and take off running if I got too close. When the weather got cooler, he traded the roof for an indoor cat post but he was still quite shy and never seemed too happy to see me.

I started giving him treats, and eventually cautiously tried petting him. He was initially skeptical and even whacked my hand a couple of times but I sensed he wanted to be friendly and just didn’t know how yet.  After several more weeks of consistent treat offerings, he started to accept cheek rubs. And the floodgates opened. He can’t get enough! He loves being brushed, and even likes belly rubs. He leans his whole body against me while purring and headbutting me for even more attention.

Seriously? You want to be my friend? (KC)

Lately I’ve been seeing if he’d like to become a truly snuggly lap cat. He’s definitely interested and I’m slowly winning his trust. So far he has committed to putting his front two paws on my lap while leaving his back paws on the floor. Fingers crossed he’ll be a full lap cat soon!

Some cats are affectionate right away, and those cats are lovely. But once in a while there’s a hidden gem with a rough exterior who needs some patience and understanding to come out of their shell. Boston has so much love to give, and I can’t wait to see him fully embrace it. (KC)

Shy, but hopeful (KC)

Yes, I like this… (KC)


Blog by Brigid Coult and Katy Cobb (thank you, Katy!)
Featured image: Boston – “it’s a lovely day, and I’m in a grumpy mood” by Karen Nicholson
Photos by Katy Cobb, Brigid Coult, Karen Nicholson