For cats who have come to us from a home, it can be a shock to the system, suddenly to be surrounded by so many other cats. All newcomers spend some cage-time on arrival, to give them a chance to acclimate to noises and smells, but reactions vary when the cage door is opened. Some swagger out, full of confidence, ready to be boss-cat. Others refuse to emerge at all and huddle in a corner, or keep themselves very much to themselves. It can sometimes take a while before they find a place in the new feline society.
Brother and sister, Joey and Phoebe came to us last summer when their owner died. They had originally been RAPS cats, and adopted when they were kittens; now, at around 13 years old, they were not so immediately adoptable – especially when there were much younger cats at the Shelter. We found a place for them in the Single-Wide, and they had their obligatory cage-time together.
These two are not small cats! Phoebe, in particular, has a real presence to her, and even in our largest cage, it was difficult to find space to visit with them. We already had a section of the Single-Wide blocked off for Frankie’s use – Frankie hated all cats, and pretty well all humans except one – and when Frankie moved into fosterage with Louise, Phoebe and Joey were transferred into that area. It became clear that the two tolerated each other, but were not actually bonded, and when their “cage” was opened, they found their own areas to live in.
Joey is pretty much a loner – a trait that was exacerbated by a burst ear-drum. We don’t know what caused it, but it necessitated the usual treatment for cats with inner ear problems – a cage with no shelf, nothing to climb on, and lots of quiet time.
The quiet time seems to have suited Joey very well, because he still prefers to be in that cage, even though the door is wide open, and other cats may come and go, and visit as they please. Joey is diabetic, which makes any adoption prospects even slimmer.
His sister Phoebe (known as Princess Sassy Pants) is not exactly social – but she’s not afraid of other cats, and not reluctant to swat them when someone encroaches on what she feels to be her territory. She quite likes people – especially the ones who come and play with her – but she considers herself very much queen of all she surveys. If Phoebe wants the chair, Phoebe gets the chair; if she wants on a shelf, other cats had better get out of her way. She can be a flirt if she wants attention; she can also do her best “We are not amused!” stare when things don’t go as she expects.
At feeding time, we found that it’s a good idea to give Phoebe her own plate first, to minimize aggression with other cats. It’s interesting to look back on the photos from when these two first came in – sharing a cage was no problem to them then, but now Phoebe really needs her own space, and doesn’t care much for Joey. Because they were presented to us as bonded siblings, and Joey’s diabetes was a barrier to adoption, it wasn’t considered for Phoebe; now she’s off to the new Adoption Centre to see whether someone might not have a home to offer where she can reign as senior royalty .