Because RAPS came into being through the efforts of founder Carol Reichert and her supporters to get all our Richmond feral cats spayed and neutered, that vital operation happens for every cat that comes into our care at the Sanctuary.
Sometimes it comes a little late – handsome Pax has no doubt sired many of the kittens that have been adopted out in the last year, and may be father of some of those currently in residence. Every kitten that leaves the Shelter leaves with the promise of spay/neuter when they are old enough. And gradually, other than in hoarding situations, we hope that the feral population is dwindling.
So sexual instincts don’t come into play with our cats. We certainly have our bonded pairs – Frank and Jim in the Val Jones area, Adam and May, Rudolph and Salish in pen 5, and many others – but the essence of the attraction is comfort and familiarity.
We also have our cat-magnets – our beloveds now gone across the Bridge: Mario, Salty, Daniel – and several other cats that draw other cats to them. This can be very clearly seen in the back courtyard, near the Newcomers area.
Tabby Woody has been with us for many years, and has always been popular with other cats, but increasingly we’re seeing groups gathering around him. His best buddy seems to be tuxedo Moxie, but recently he’s been found cuddling with Pumpkin or with Sprocket, and the latter, who began his time with us as Tiger’s buddy, has also found a following. The deck of Newcomers is their usual area.
Six or seven yards away is another similar group – Quinn and Sylar, who hang out around Waldi’s Hut, with Smithy from pen 8. On the fringe of that group is long-haired Steele, and Midnight, who began in the front courtyard and made his way to the back. Quinn and Sylar are tempted by food and long to get closer to tidbits, but are easily put off by braver, more assertive cats. The others know they’re being coaxed and they’re not interested! There are lots of good hiding places behind the bed-shelves and they like to stay out of sight. Other boys are less specifically a part of either group, but like to hang around in the same area – Albi, Rookie, Moxie, Skittles and several others.
There’s a similar group centered on Pen 1, and led by tabby Zivko, who can sometimes be heard calling his buddies to a Very Important Meeting
It’s noticeable that the females – with the exception of Balak – tend not to hang around with these males. The Love-Birds in Pen 5 and the pen 8 girls are also inclined to stay in the area where they feel safe. Other females stay closer to the Tea Room and the path to the back pens. It sometimes feels like the Newcomers and courtyard has a sign that says NO GURLZ ALOWD. There is no aggression – it’s just very clearly a feline Boys’ Club..