|Steele, Smithy and Quinn – KN|
In the last year we’ve had more black cats added to our back courtyard population, and I frequently find myself asking one of the staff, “Who is that cat?” Some of the black ghosts turn out to be McLeod cats, like Atlas and Nyx, who used to live in Pen 6, and have now mostly relocated to the back of Pen 1. Others turn out to be cats who were caged in an area I have not been working in, and I’ve never got to know them – with them I will have to start from scratch.
|Moxie, Smithy, Quinn, Albi,
and Midnight lurking at the back (KN)
I have been spending time working on Sylar, the wary grey boy near Waldi’s hut, who looooves chicken, but is himself rather chicken among other cats. He has finally come round to accepting food from my hand without letting Pumpkin and Walker (who are also chickaholics) scare him off. Surrounded by eager meows. I am aware of a couple of other cats in the vicinity – cats who don’t want to join the crowd, but are curious.
Neither is curious enough to be easily approachable, though. The trimmer of the two turns out to be Midnight. He is one of a group of four who came to us as ferals a couple of years ago. They were set up in the Hill House, and then released to the front courtyard. Of the four of them, grey Solar is the friendliest; tuxedo Mabel and tabby Libby prefer to remain at a distance, though it depends on their current feline company. Black Midnight wanted nothing to do with us, and was one of a small group of cats who staged a jailbreak, not out of the Sanctuary, but into the area underneath the Single-Wide trailer. Luckily, they were spotted from the other side, and a staff member in protective gear crawled underneath to set traps and retrieve them.
Because Midnight had obviously not appreciated the front courtyard, we decided that he might as well remain in the back, and he joined the group of wary ferals who hang out around Waldi’s Hut and on the shelves backing against the Single-Wide deck. Here he is in company with cats like Sylar, Smithy, Midnight, Quinn and others who like to be close enough for food, but with lots of places to hide. We’ve not yet found his weakness. Sylar and Quinn are equally wary, but love food, and it’s just been a matter of time (a lot of it!) before they come to us. Midnight is not generally food-motivated – certainly not enough to brave coming close enough to accept offerings. It may take a while!
The other black phantom is longer-furred, and often has a more raggedy appearance. He was one of the “detective” cats who found us, and was named Steele (for Remington Steele) since he burgled his way into the Sanctuary. He then discovered that climbing in was one thing, but it was much harder to get out. However, with a source of food, safety and shelter, he has decided that he is better off – as long as he can avoid the humans.
|A more typical view of Steele (KN)|
Steele does not live up to the dashing appearance of Pierce Brosnan’s character – he’s pretty shaggy and unkempt, and obviously is not ready to allow us to groom him. Like Smithy, his thick fur mats, and he may end up joining Smithy in the LionCut club next summer. We think he is deaf – it is possible to get quite close to him before he startles and scurries away.
|Steele is suspicious (LBF)|
These two are cats for whom the Sanctuary is all-important. Neither will ever be tame, even if we can some day touch them, and life in a cage would drive them crazy. At the Sanctuary they have the company of other cats, the semblance of freedom, and provision of food and safety. We always try to tame the ferals, but we know it’s not always possible, and we are glad that they can have good lives in our care.