Cat Sanctuary

Hidden Sweetness

Four years ago, we brought in a colony of ferals to into Pen 6, and named them collectively “The Candy Cats”.

Some of our feral pens remain closed – pens 3 and 4 are examples of closed pens where the majority of the cats want no contact at all with humans. We’re always pleased and excited when one of these ferals “turns” and becomes handleable, but most of them just want to be left alone.  However, with other pens, the staff may decide that it’s time to open the pen and see how the cats manage in a larger arena.

So when pen 6 was opened, the Candy Cats split up. Skittles, who we lost very recently, hung around the back courtyard and enjoyed contact with humans, becoming one of the most dedicated of lap-cats.  His brother Cadbury relocated to pen 2 area. Cadbury is one of the most beautiful of fluffy-tabbies.

He is erratic in his relations with us – sometimes he is spooked and wary, sometimes he comes for petting and playing.  He has never developed the comfort of his brother Skittles, but you can’t quite put him in the feral category either. Most of the pen 2 cats are former ferals as well, so there is a common wariness – but they know the volunteers who come bearing treats, and the ones who have feather-toys and catnip!

Pretty little SweetTart showed an early fascination with the cats next door in Pen 7.  This is the farm-cat pen, and they have been kept separate, mostly because they have some genetic quirks in common – mostly around eye problems – which are more easily treated by the med-staff when they’re in a closed pen.

Normally we wouldn’t add to this pen, but SweetTart SO wanted to be with them that we relented and added her in. Because they’re well up on the feral scale, she has adopted their ways, and has gone from being a cat that could occasionally be petted to being wary. One-eyed Rodan is the only one of this colony that really enjoys human attention.


The remaining three have relocated to pen 8, which was also a once-closed, now-open feral pen. They seem to have settled comfortably into sharing with Hailey, Johnny and co, with no territorial issues. Again, there is a common distrust of humans in the cats of this area, but Purdy, Butterscotch and Hershey are at least comfortable with us being around them; they will sit and listen to our voices as we work, and they no longer run to hide as soon as we appear.  Purdy is probably still the shyest of the three. There is a distinct resemblance to Cadbury in the sad-tabby face, but the short fur makes him look quite different. He does not want to be touched; his smacks are full-claw and offerings of treats are not sufficient to change his mind.

Hershey and Butterscotch are less aggressive, but equally wary. If in company with Kermit or Gigi, both of whom love to play, they are ready to relax a little and chase a cat-toy or to wriggle around in a bit of catnip.
But they’re both touch-me-not cats, and we don’t know if that will ever change. The most important thing, though, is that they are safe in our care, and they are no longer constantly fearful – we have a guarded truce, and can wait for their choice in timing.

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