Cat Sanctuary


Freya – MW

In a recent “families” blog, we were introduced to a group that recently came to us from a trapping situation in Kamloops. Barbara, Bruley and Baxter are now well settled in the Double-Wide, as is their sister Ariel, and also Aspen, who is still caged with a respiratory virus.  We are not the only shelter helping out with the work of our Kamloops colleagues. Other cats have come to other Lower Mainland shelters, where they stand a better chance of getting used to being handled, and possibly getting adopted eventually.  One of those shelters contacted us about a another Kamloops cat from the same situation that was proving unhandlable for them – would we be able to take it and see what we could do? Shelter Manager Lisa said yes – and Freya came to us.

To swat or not to swat?  – KN

Many shelters are much like our City Shelter, with limited space – individual cages for cats, outings only when the cat has proved manageable. Cats coming to the Sanctuary come to an enclosure that can be three or four times the size of a standard cage. It’s mandatory that they are caged for the first few weeks, so that we can assess them, and they can get used to us.   Freya came to us in December, and for some time all we saw was her draped cage and a notice that warned that only the med staff were to enter.


We had just transferred Mozart and his buddies to the front courtyard, and for the first week they occupied the cage next to Freya’s. She was obviously not happy about being with us at all, and the fact that she was living next to a bunch of teenagers was plainly irritating (who can blame her?) .When the teens were released to the courtyard things were a bit better for their cranky neighbour, but her tolerance level was low for anything different that affected her living conditions.

Will the neighbours just be quiet?  – EW

When the med-staff notice came down, both cleaning staff and volunteers approached Freya with caution, and were met with growls and swats. It was usually safest to make no eye contact; to scoop and get out. It took the bravest ones to attempt contact with her, and most advances were met with not just disdain but with aggression.  Any cat trying to see if anyone was at home was met with hisses and bad language, and we had to keep at least the bottom of her cage draped.

I’m very comfortable – if you’d just go away….   KN

As she became a little more used to a human presence and less inclined to hide, it became obvious that she was a very pretty cat, and many of the more experienced Kitty Comforters spent time with her, though it was not always a rewarding experience. But she was healthy, and there was no reason why she shouldn’t be released into the front courtyard – if she didn’t like human company, there were lots of other feral cats who preferred to hide in the feral area.

First day out – happiness! – KN

So the door was opened, and Madam Hyde became Miss Jekyll – she was a totally different personality once outside. She explored the whole area, she allowed herself to be petted (with caution), she established with the other cats that She Was To Be Obeyed. She’s not very good at personal space – from her perspective, it’s all her own space. I don’t know if she’s had a run-in with Leland or Tigger yet; she certainly put Puffin and Timmy in their places!

Investigating Timmy – KN

She is obviously just one of those cats who goes stir-crazy in an enclosure. We’ve had a few of them – Dell was perhaps the scariest – who became a new personality out of the cage, though we’ve never had it happen so quickly. Sadly, the caging is necessary for an initial period, and with an organization that doesn’t have a no-kill mandate, you can see how a cat like that would be assessed as “untamable” and probably euthanized. I am so thankful for RAPS, that we will always give these animals a second chance – and if they are truly “untamable”, we can still find them a home in one of the feral colonies.

Happy in the sun – BC
For Freya, life has become wonderful – and we love watching her excitement as she explores her new world.


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult,  Karen Nicholson, Erica Warren, Michele Wright