From volunteer Pauline Chin:
Many people automatically assume it’s only un-neutered male cats who want to pick a fight. That is untrue. Any cat may act aggressively if they feel the need to defend themselves or their territory. Luckily for us, the majority of our cats either want company, share their space, or at least tolerate each other.
|Jade at her best – BC|
Jade and JJ are two females who have shown their unfriendly sides since their arrival. Both were owner-surrenders for their aggression towards strangers.
Jade (presumaby named for her beautiful green eyes) is all-black and 4 years old. She can be kind and then suddenly turn into a ferocious feline. She might be full of purrs and head butts while petting her, and suddenly, she will swat and gnaw on hands repeatedly, with no warning signs of swishing tails, flattened ears, or angry vocals. At that point, we leave her cage. Jade enjoys her freedom, as she has been known to push her cage door open and go for a walk.
|On the prowl – LBF|
After her release, she had a knack for fighting with other cats in the vicinity, earning her time-outs and battle scars. Her sleek black coat became peppered with scratches and bald spots. It’s taken months, but she’s calming down. She’ll at least let other cats near her without hitting and she favours a particular shelf for naps. She’ll hop down to leg-rub her favourite humans. Nowadays, she gives some warning signs of her tolerance level. Some are “blink and you’ll miss it”, but it’s better than nothing.
|Keeping an eye on her surroundings – BC|
Jade can be interested in toys, but can get possessive of them and will lash at other cats who approach. You just have to use two toys sometimes, for distraction purposes.
|JJ says “Grrr…” – MD|
Tuxedo JJ (the one you MUSTN’T confuse with last week’s feature cat, Sir) is frequently found near the door of the DoubleWide. Her way of announcing her presence is to growl at everyone. A typical interaction goes like this:
Human: Hi, JJ
Human: Would you like to play?
Human: Should I leave you alone?
|Ready to defend her cage – LBF|
Simply put, JJ is protecting her territory. Her territory is the entire floor but especially the immediate 5 foot radius around her. Any human who doesn’t frequent the place is considered a stranger – an intruder in her eyes. Any cat who invades the radius around her is also an intruder.
Cats have varying degrees of warning vocals and flicking tails. JJ just growls. They are not bluffs, as she will stand her ground and smack offenders.
|On her shelf, and waiting for the next victim – VL|
While caged, she growled at everyone who entered her space. Unlike other new cats, she didn’t hide. She’d stay on her bed and eye you suspiciously with her dilated pupils. JJ likes wand toys, although sudden noises will put her back into high alert. Since release, she’s made some peaceful progress. She’s begun to see the DoubleWide as a communal space. JJ has allowed a handful of humans to pet her for a few seconds; she seems to like men better than women. It was shocking to find her walking up to me without growling. She wanted to sniff me; I got a brief pet without bleeding. She’s okay with touching people, but not vice-versa. She’s particularly wary of hands, and it’s often best to pull sleeves right down so she can’t see fingers. (Experienced volunteers will remember Marianne Moore foot-petting Combo #5, who hated hands in the same way.)
|She will play – but note the wary eye – KN|
The biggest leap forward I’ve witnessed was JJ lounging on the armrest of the couch with visitors and cats. I didn’t think it was her because Jay-Z was in the exact same spot minutes earlier. And she was silent! What a miracle!
|Sharing a cage with BB – mostly by ignoring her – BC|
As with ANY cat, it’s important to respect their space. We’re not expecting Jade or JJ to be cuddly cats (although it’s a sweet thought). We’re here to give them a safe place to thrive and experience cat life.