After the celebrations of Christmas, we start anticipating the prospect of a New Year – and inevitably that includes some retrospection as we remember what we’ve been through in the past twelve months, and, particularly at the Cat Sanctuary, who we’ve lost in that time.
In fact, 2022 has been a year in which fewer cats have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but there have been some notable personalities among them. The list has to be led by HoneyBear, our blue-eyed charmer, whose neurological quirks caused both his incontinence and his “Ministry of Funny Walks” gait. Once visitors encountered our boy, we could be sure they would always ask after him again.
Lovers of the Single-Wide cats were particularly hard-hit in the summer, when we lost seven cats in less than three months. First was Bluebell, the Dowager who was transferred when the Moore House was closed; a week later we lost Siamese Presley. Little Marty put up a brave fight with a tumour, and was a central figure for some loving from both cats and humans; less than a month later we lost Mr Pink, another especially loving boy. All too often cats hide their illness until it’s too late for any treatment.
Cats with feline leukemia are almost always more prone to having something that seems small become fatal; their systems don’t have the resiliency needed to combat an infection. Since August we have said farewell to Nandor, Catalano, Banff, Brian and sweet Jane (who features in the 2023 Calendar which went to press just before her sudden passing).
Bonded pair Rudolph and Salish in pen 5 have both gone. Rudolph had an anaesthetic reaction to dental surgery in January; Salish passed in June – she missed him so much. Most of the Old Boys club in Newcomers has also gone; Albi and Woody passed on the same day, and Moxie less than a month later.
We remember sweet Ruff with fondness – his extreme shyness when he arrived, his amazing floof, the way he bonded with Karen – and I still find myself looking for OJ when I enter Pen 4: he was another feral boy who finally decided that humans were not so bad after all. Onyx was one of our dowagers, at least 20 years old. Having been largely an indoor cat for years, she moved out to Pen 5 this summer, and then wouldn’t move back in when the weather turned. Med-staff Catherine took her home to fosterage for her last few weeks of comfort and loving.
And two other front-courtyard senior tuxedos have passed in the last month: little Puck was our beloved Marianne Moore‘s cat, and she has crossed the Bridge to be with Marianne again, and sweet Miller (at top) was beginning to age early in the fall, and became very frail and tottery in his last few weeks.
So we grieve their passing, even as we give thanks that the lives they lived were made possible by the love and care they received at the Sanctuary. There are never enough homes for all the cats we take in – especially in a year like this one with a prolonged kitten season. We are grateful to the people who have taken in Sanctuary cats like Oscar and Gypsy and given them hope for a new life, and also to all the supporters whose help allows us to give lifelong home-space to otherwise unadoptable cats like incontinent Jasmine or moody Jade or JJ, to the cats who come with Feline Leukemia, or the shy ferals who want nothing to do with us. Every life is precious, and RAPS will continue to offer Sanctuary to cats who have no other options.
Featured Photo: “Miller” by Karen Nicholson