Gwen, Bagheera, Anya – three little ferals who’ve gone in very different directions… They came in together from Broken Promises rescue on Vancouver Island, well past the early socializing stage and very reluctant to have anything to do with us. All three were long-haired, two of them were black, and one a tortie.
Anya is the typical feral – a hissy-spitty, “stay away from me” cat. The med staff decided to place her in Pen 7, the farm-cat pen, since she needed some eye care, and there are a couple of other cats also there for the same reason. Another reason to keep her out in the pens is that she has a Manx tail (or lack thereof) and often disdains the use of a litter box. Her first hideout was in a draped cat tree, and we ended up having to throw it out because as Anya’s toilet, it became something of a biohazard. By penning her, we can keep a more careful eye on her, and watch for problems, like the UTI difficulties some tailless cats suffer from. She doesn’t like humans, and only tolerates short visits from the med staff, who check on her daily.
With Bagheera, it looked as if we were going to be faced with another feral cat, but it turned out that the health issues which she had to battle, actually did her a favour, since they confined her to a cage for longer than normal. And cage time means contact with Kitty Comforters, and for Bagheera, THE Kitty Comforter was Mel. Every visit Mel made, she spent time with Bagheera, who grew increasingly confident around her new human friend. Mel and her husband Scott moved to Alberta in the summer, and have taken Bagheera with them, as well as Scooter, who was shy until the Mel-and-Scott magic hit her. We love it when the shy cats blossom with love from their adopters.
The third cat was tortie Gwen. Tortoiseshells tend either to be very sweet – cats like Blaze and Chelsea – or full of tortietude. And a feral tortie of the latter variety… oh, my! On release from her cage, Gwen relocated to the DoubleWide Deck and proceeded to establish herself as a bossyboots.
Initially she hid out on the upper shelves, finding corners where she could hide, but it wasn’t long before she discovered that all the really interesting stuff (i.e. food) happened at ground level, and she began to make her presence felt.
Gwen is not a friendly cat with the other felines on the deck. She is tentatively interested in humans, especially when they carry treats, and she has learned that when she takes food nicely, more may be forthcoming. With food distraction, she can be petted gently, but she sees it only as a means to the next treat.
She keeps a wary eye open for any cat who may encroach on her tidbits, and she is not slow to smack a cat like Jasper when she feels he’s too close to the next mouthful. When she is aware of competition in the vicinity, she grumbles as she eats: “Nom nom nom… I am enjoying this and you can’t have it!”
She has explored outside, but Gwen’s territory has mostly extended from the Deck into the DoubleWide, and she is often found hovering if there are promising smells in the med-cage, or in the pockets of one of the Kitty Comforters. Bribery is a very good way to convince a cat that it may well be worth giving up feral status for the good life at the Sanctuary!