As its name implies, the RAPS Adoption Centre is the place to go when you’re looking for a cat. Kittens come from fosterage when they’re old enough to get all their immunizations, and both foster-parents and Kitty Comforters have made sure that they’re well socialized. Other older cats come in – sometimes from trapping strays who then make it clear that they’re tame and home-able; sometimes when someone surrenders a cat because of their own illness or age. There is never a lack of cats looking for a home.
…which is where the Sanctuary comes in. There have been occasions when the Adoption Centre is just too full, and cats have been transferred into our care. Some of our older cats – the Pen 2 cats in particular – came to us that way, and just never went back.
Other cats don’t do very well in the Adoption Centre surroundings – I suspect it’s just too intense for them. They have to be caged at night, and for those that are out during the day, it’s not easy to avoid personality clashes. Sam, Elvis, Mango and many others, all moved to the Sanctuary to give them some relief from a situation in which they demonstrated cage aggression. Many of them are cats that would do really well in a home with space to explore – especially if they were The One and Only Cat.
A third category of cats is those who have come to us as ferals or semi-ferals, and who have proved to be very friendly and adaptable. The thing with most of these cats is that they’re used to having the run of the Sanctuary, and we can’t always track their bathroom habits. Many cats prefer to use the litter boxes we scoop twice daily – but others prefer the garden, and are not necessarily indoor-adaptable, even when they’re friendly. With some of the shyer cats, we would prefer that they are adopted in pairs, so that they continue to live with another cat they already know.
The last category of adoptables is the cats with a manageable health issue. Our sweet Dango, for instance, throws up bladder crystals and really needs to be on a carefully restricted urinary diet – but that’s difficult to achieve in community living without making him live in a cage. Right now, Dango’s been moved into the Val Jones pen, with a smaller number of cats – and they’re ALL on a urinary diet, whether they need it or not.
Cats with FIV or FeLV – feline AIDS or feline leukemia virus – may also be adoptable, though there are more stringent restrictions around care. Cats with FIV can do very well in a home, even with non-FIV cats, as long as there is no fighting among them. Cats with FeLV can live with other FeLV cats, or alone. Both conditions need more awareness of health-checks and of the cat’s immune system, though in both cases, the virus can go into remission.
We’ve always been wary about adopting out Sanctuary cats – there have been bad experiences with former ferals who have reverted when put into new surroundings. But increasingly we’re looking at the more sociable cats and how they react to or bond with a visitor, and asking ourselves whether this might be a possible adoption. With the Adoption Centre cats, we know that they can go into a new home and settle easily; with the Sanctuary cats we are more cautious. So the focus moves to “Foster-To-Adopt” – an adoption is not confirmed until we know that both cat and adopter are happy, and that the situation is working all round. In some cases – perhaps with an older cat like Akiva, or one who needs more medical care – it might remain a fostering situation indefinitely.
So, if you come to visit us this summer – Sunday afternoons, starting April 16, and then Saturdays as well from mid-May – do ask the staff about the possible foster-to-adopt cats, and take some time to sit with them and make their acquaintance. There are many who love life in the Sanctuary – but who would love even more to have a home of their own.
Featured Image: Mango will be wearing an “I am adoptable” bandana by Karen Nicholson