Cat Sanctuary


Garrus (LBF)

Garrus came to us earlier this summer as a stray, to be homed at the Sanctuary. Initially he was pretty well-behaved, and we moved him to the Adoption Centre, hoping to find him a home. However, once he had fully decompressed and settled down there, his true colours came out, and we discovered that  the Sanctuary was the right place for him after all. 

We don’t know if he’d been turned out by his original owners for peeing, or if he was an indoor-outdoor cat who took his outside habits indoors – but it was very apparent that he was not happy about being caged, because though he (mostly) used his litterbox, he also got himself a reputation for unprovoked attacks on staff and volunteers.  This is not uncommon – cage aggression is an issue that the Adoption Centre often sees, and cats who show it can be very grateful they are at RAPS. Other shelters cannot always afford the time or space to deal with an aggressive animal, and adopters are wary when they hear that a cat may be reactive.

Garrus being wary (BC)

Thankfully, no-kill is at the heart of RAPS philosophy, and stressed cats who show aggression are able to be transferred to the Sanctuary. With us, they will sometimes remain reactive and bite-y, and they will sometimes calm down and become friendly and approachable.  Transfers in the last year include cats Peaches and Sam, who have spent their summer wearing collars as a warning to visitors that they are better not touched, and who have learned that they don’t need to be constantly on their guard. Collars have been removed now that visiting hours have ended, and both cats are more relaxed.

Peaches & Sam (KN)

Garrus spent his first couple of weeks with us in the Tea-Room cage, and earned his warning-collar; he’s a handsome boy and it’s tempting to offer caresses, but approaches were not appreciated.  When he was released, he moved into the back pens, and can usually be found in the back area of Pen 5, where he encounters fewer cats and fewer humans.  He doesn’t exhibit feral behaviour, but he doesn’t appreciate much attention, and though he will occasionally do a little finger-sniffing and allow neck- and ear-rubs, his patience is limited, and he signals the end of a session with a smart swat.

Not too close, please! (KN)

Sadly, he’s also something of a loner, and doesn’t appreciate the close presence of other cats; he’s not actively aggressive with them (as Gizmo is), but his body language is pretty clear when he tells them to leave him alone.

Garrus – playful (LBF)

But it’s still early days – he’s only been with us a few months, and perhaps as the days grow colder he will learn that warmth and company in the cabins is not altogether a bad thing.  Take your time, Garrus – even though you don’t much love anyone yet, you’ll find that there’s a lot of love to be found at the Sanctuary!


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Brigid Coult, Karen Nicholson
Feature Image: Karen Nicholson