Another traveller from the North-West, Ranger, like orange sibs Titan and Dixie, came to us through the good offices of Masset Animal Helpline
|Ranger – KN|
The Masset rescue folks know all the local cats – which is why they were so surprised when Ranger appeared one day, in a trap set for another cat. They guess that he was dumped or escaped from a boat that was docked there. He has the sort of muscular build and big jowls of an un-neutered tomcat, and that was the Masset rescue’s first job, to get him “fixed”. It was clear that he distrusted humans and he was not adoptable, and so he was flown down to us. Deeply suspicious of us and of this place in which he’d arrived, Ranger crouched in his cage behind a drape and let us know that he did not want to be disturbed. Gentle approaches from the staff and Kitty Comforters were scorned, and the decision was finally made that he would join the feral cats in Pen 4.
|Don’t disturb me! – KN|
Most of the cats in Pen 4 take one look at an arriving human, and scatter for cover. Only OJ (always hoping for treats) and Pebble (sister of feral Sandy) will normally allow contact, and both are increasingly willing to approach and interact with a visitor. The others hide in the shrubbery or at the back of the pen.
|Only leaves here… KN|
When Ranger joined the group he was equally wary at first, but the dominant tom-cat inside quickly established that this was his territory, and we began to encounter him more often at the gate, letting us know that we were stepping on his turf. He wasn’t actively aggressive, but he was obviously watching us very carefully.
|Advancing with suspicion – LBF|
In these days of pandemic shut-down, the Kitty Comforter program has been on hiatus, but Ranger became a project for several of the staff and volunteers. Suspicious glaring gave way to curiosity, and closer and closer approaches. Tidbits were gradually accepted directly from the hand, and then he discovered the joys of petting, and of a good ear-rub.
Grass-stalks became the summer go-to toy for many of the cats, and Ranger was no exception. Despite his stocky body, he plays with the best of them, and he plays hard. He’s becoming more sociable with the other cats, and he and Pebble can often be found hanging out together
|Pebble, Ranger (& OJ in the background) – KN|
Many of our feral cats end up with us because they’re simply not tameable, and we don’t force them to accept contact with us – that’s why we have pens 3 & 4. But it’s so satisfying when a cat like Ranger – feral or mistreated – decides that they can trust us. Obviously his earlier experiences with humans were not happy ones, but with us he’s discovered that we let him go at his own pace and decide when he want to make contact.
|Play with me, please… – KN|
It’s starting to look like his confidence is rubbing off on some of the others, because cats who formerly avoided us, like Amelia Earheart, are beginning to join in the grass-stalk play. But
Ranger leads the way – ankle-rubs and petting that would not have been possible six months ago are now the norm – perhaps he’ll decide to try being a lap-cat next!