Leona – MW
Two little feral mamas came from Vancouver Island where they were trapped in a colony to be TNR’d. The rescue found out they were both pregnant, and they were sent to separate foster homes to have their kittens. Once all that was done they were spayed and were going to be returned to their colony, only to have it found that the caregiver had disappeared leaving the colony unattended, and unsafe. They decision was made to find them a new place to live, and they came into our care.
Star practicing being an owl – KN
They may have been trapped at the same time, but having been fostered separately, they were not treated as a bonded pair, and were put into separate feral pens. Star went into Pen 4, at the back, where there was lots of space, places to hide, and a variety of cats she could ignore or get used to, at her own pace. Leona was estimated to be the more potentially tameable of the two, and was put into Pen 4, along with all the little “mythology” cats; we knew that these guys would have frequent visitors as staff and volunteers worked at taming them, and hoped that Leona would take the hint.
Watching with caution – MW
In Pen 4 many of the feral cats have remained very feral, in spite of the encouragement of grey Ranger; who, having come to us as a very hissy feral boy, has now reconciled to human contact, and even appears to welcome it. When Ranger was obviously having a good time with treats and toys, it wasn’t entirely surprising that other cats in the pen would do the cat-curiosity thing and investigate. So far, though, Star is remaining aloof and not ready to join in cat-games.
Leona, in Pen 6, decided that she wanted nothing to do with this clowder of cats in her space. She’s not aggressive in any way, but she doesn’t want to live on top of them and has claimed the corner nearest the gate as her own. For some time she would cringe away when a hand reached towards her; she didn’t actually go and hide, but she was obviously not comfortable, and we didn’t push her. Gradually the thought of being touched was less scary, the bum would go up in the air, and she would occasionally fall over on her side and offer her belly for rubs. Occasionally she has allowed herself to be picked up briefly, but she never wants to be held for long, and we let her set her own pace.
the flirt… KN
Star is a hidden feral; Leona is on the edge of breakthrough, and the volunteers working in those pens are very much aware of the two of them. Neither cat will ever be likely to be truly adoptable; a feral start like this is very hard to overcome, and unless they bond with someone, they will likely always be happiest in the space they know. But there are lots of other little semi-ferals around, and with us they can take their own time, without pressure, to settle in their Sanctuary home.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Karen Nicholson & Michele Wright