Cat Sanctuary


It’s not an uncommon thing to see Sanctuary staff heading out the back gate in the early evening to set traps. Many dedicated cat rescuers learned their calling from the experience of having local strays come visiting, as if there was a “homeless cats welcome here” sign on their door and we’ve certainly had our share of cats decide that the Sanctuary was where they wanted to be.

Long-haired black Steele (named for Remington Steele) took it to the extreme of burglarizing his way in. Other cats have been found in the parking-lot and allowed themselves to be gathered up. But usually our visitors are spotted on the trail cams and need to be bribed into a trap to achieve the real safety of the Sanctuary. It is possible that some are dumped by “owners” who don’t understand the dangers of the area – many of us who work an evening shift have heard the coyotes singing and worried about their potential victims.

Big cat in a small ball (AG)

McCormick was trapped outside the Sanctuary walls last November, and brought to shelter. We’re pretty sure that he had been a stray. He’d known human attention and responded to us, once caged, but he was very dirty, was unneutered, and had a lot of parasites – both internal and external. He’d probably been living in the local fields for some time, and his load of worms came from a diet of rodents. The first action item with new cats is a vet-check – SNAP test for FIV/FeLV, deworming and flea control, and spay/neuter, and we needed to get McCormick healthy before he could interact with other cats.

Bird-watching with his buddy Caleb

It’s a tradition at the Sanctuary that the cats who find us are given TV detective names – we’ve rejoiced in the company of Magnum, Kojak, Cagney and Horatio, with Cassidy, Rico and Rollins the most recent arrivals. Our Med staff are fans of Law and Order: SVU, and most of our recent detective cats are named from that series. Our McCormick was a little wary when first released into the front courtyard, but quickly discovered that nobody was out to hurt him, he could get along with most of the cats, and the humans offered attention and cuddles. He is very happy to take lap time attention – but watch when MedStaff Catherine crosses the courtyard: all his attention zeros in on her. McCormick loves us – but he adores Catherine!

Lap-time – good; wearing the cone – not so much…

The poor boy has had some cage time recently, along with the cone of shame – some mouth problems and a couple of lesions where he had scratched his own irritated skin. Having him on a hypo-allergenic diet helped, but without isolating him, it’s simply not practical at the sanctuary. What McCormick needs is his own home where he can’t eat stuff that triggers his food sensitivities. That’s not to say he couldn’t live with another cat – he loves the company of Truffle and Malibu who came to us about the same time as he did – but any cat he lived with would have to eat the same thing he does.

Watched over by his good friend Truffle

For the time being, McCormick is living free with his front courtyard buddies – but the med-staff keep checking on him, and if his skin or his mouth shows irritation, he’ll be back in his cage for another round with the prescription diet – and he hates the cone that protects his ears from his own scratching!  He could probably go to the Adoption Centre – but the cages there are smaller, and he’d have fewer visitors; he’s better off with monitored freedom in the front courtyard, combined with love and cuddles from staff and volunteers until he can find a home of his own.

Lap-time is the best….

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult & Akira Graham