|Calvin on “his” doorstep (MW)|
Some cats are strongly territorial – not in the sense that they will defend their territory, but that they establish their space and stay there. In some areas in the Sanctuary that is enforced, of course – SingleWide cats stay in their building, as do the Aids and Leukemia cats. But in both front and back courtyard there is the potential for a lot of movement between areas, and it’s interesting to note the cats who like to visit and those who stay in their own space.
|The newly-painted pen 2 (MW)|
Pen 2 is very much that sort of area. The cats who live there came to us in 2016 from the Shelter, and were all cats who for one reason or another had not been adopted or were deemed unadoptable. I blogged about them in the following year with an intro and a look at the blacks/tuxedos, a feature on the tabbies and one on the coloured cats.
Four years later and most of the same cats are still living in the same cabin. We’ve lost Tubby and Minnow, Sophie migrated to the TeaRoom and Celeste to the DoubleWide, Zivko has set up his Boys’ Club next door in Pen 1, and Kevin is often with him – but everyone else is usually there. They have been joined by Skittles’ beautiful brother Cadbury, who occasionally craves petting, but is usually shy – and by Hillie’s sister/cousin Yma, who still does NOT want to be touched, but is curious.
|Yma – watching from a safe distance (KN)|
My Friday morning is spent out in the back pens. There’s a routine – a quick circuit closer to the TeaRoom to pick up plates from the night before, and put them in to soak. Then, gather scoop and bucket and start at the back to pick up the remaining plates and do the clean-up simultaneously. Pen 4, where I usually start, used to be very quick and easy, but needs more work these days, with more cats living there. Across to Pen 3 where I always used to spend cuddle-time with Dell – these days pen 3 is full of teenagers, and quiet cuddling isn’t yet on the menu.
|Paula, Chase, Calvin (KN)|
As I enter Pen 2, Yma scurries from the door to one of the kennels. If Cadbury is outside, he usually takes himself out of the way – if he’s indoors, he will stay on his shelf till he knows who it is. As I open the door, there is a rustle of activity. I don’t know if they recognize my voice or if the reaction is common to all volunteers – once they realize it’s me, they are active and interested. On Fridays I bring a baggie with some of my own cat’s diet food, and some dental kibble. You wouldn’t think that stuff that’s “good for you” would be so popular, but it’s different from their regular kibble, and therefore “special”. Cats don’t do deferred gratification very well, so there’s a certain amount of edginess as I scoop their boxes and sweep out the cabins; a quick check to see that all the bedding is clean, and the excitement builds.
Calvin, as always, is the ringleader, and comes down the ramp to take over the window-ledge and demand his share. He’s actually not good at sharing, and Chase will often get stuck on the ramp, unable to access his brother’s goodies or to go backwards to the shelves. Salina paces anxiously till she gets her portion. Barbie usually remains in her bed; she likes the odd treat, but often she feels it’s not worth the effort; Booty is often the same. Palma and Paula are still shy and hover on the top shelf or in the corner – they want their treats, but without direct human contact, please!
|Chase and Calvin (KN)|
On a cleaning shift there’s often not time to spend the sort of quality let-me-touch-you time with cats that we would like. I don’t know about other people, but I tend to focus on getting the job done, and then I’ll go back afterwards for more time with favourites. Sometimes that involves treats, or grooming; sometimes it just means contact. Most of the Pen 2 cats will remain in their cabin for the greater part of the day – as it cools and dinnertime comes, Calvin, in particular, will wander round and make a few visits in the vicinity. Shy Paula is sometimes an honorary member of the Boys’ Club. But it’s rare that you’ll find the Pen 2 cabin empty – it’s a much-loved homebase for the cats who live there