Cat Sanctuary

Relocating the Teens

Some of our younger cats have come to us at an age which misses the optimal window for socialization, and they hover in the cusp between feral and approachable.
Mozart (also known as “Poptart”) – KN

Young kittens, living and playing together, learn to socialize with each other and with the humans caring for them; it becomes relatively easy to get them comfortable with handling, and thus ready for adoption at the City Shelter. But kittens who come to us at 6 months old or more may have missed that opportunity, and many remain fearful and not so easily handled.

Caleb exploring – KN

Sometimes, some determined play/handling therapy can turn the corner; we’ve had a number of kittens who have eventually been adopted, once they’ve learned that humans aren’t so bad. But we also have several who, though friendly enough now, remain feral at heart – easily scared, and not good adoption prospects unless they truly bond with a human. Silky and SageCricket and Beetle are now all cats like that – handleable in a space where they are comfortable and relaxed, but we would be very wary about ever adopting them out.

Leo & Benny as  newcomers – LL
Leo & Benny still together – KN

We recently had a batch of these “teens” in semi-isolation in the room on the east end of the Moore House.  Regular visits from staff and Kitty Comforters got them a little more comfortable with handling, but it was obvious they they were not yet ready to be relaxed with visitors, and not likely to enjoy a move to the City Shelter. As with the other “teens” above (now full adults), it was decided to relocate them to the front courtyard.

Mason – KN

After an initial stay in the large Hill House cages, the doors were opened. It was interesting to see the different reactions.  Blond Leo was not happy – he has always been the shyest of the bunch, and he decided to hunker down in the cage and not come out for a while. That’s OK – he has time to adjust, and the Kitty Comforter visits will continue.  His buddy Benny was always braver, and was quick to emerge and explore; he likes to be around staff and volunteers, “helping” with chores. Leo now explores a bit, but prefers it when Benny is there to give him confidence.
All-black Mason was also quick to explore, and discovered a whole bunch of other little black cats – which makes it a bit difficult to pick him out!  For the greater part, he seems to have relocated himself to the feral cat area – but he does emerge occasionally to interact with his buddies.

Pistachio showing off – CP
“We pause to show paws, but the clause are no claws!’

The other three have settled in well. Pistachio was always the most social of the family; she is enjoying her explorations, and making friends. Caleb was initially cautious, but has expanded his range right across the courtyard and has joined the formal-wear crowd – between Miller, Vesper, Puck, Sylvester and Marvel – and that’s not counting the easily distinguished ones like ZeeZee, Spirit, and Mabel – it’s getting almost as hard to distinguish between the tuxes as between the many little blacks!

Mozart – CP

Nobody can mistake Mozart for another cat, though. His gorgeous floofy coat is the most intriguing mixture of grey and black. Initially very timid about relocation, he has begun to relax and to explore more readily. He joins the others in games of “get the red dot”; he’s beginning to seek out humans for interaction, and is often among the greeters at the gate.

Mozart in the snow – KN

We would love to see these six adopted, but we feel a move to the City Shelter would be too stressful for them, and we would want to be very sure that they had bonded with an adopter – whether they go singly or in pairs. In addition, they are all still very dependent on each other – Leo and Benny in particular.  For more information about any of them, we hope you will contact Shelter Manager Lisa Parker –

Fur, as it should be worn – KN
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Leslie Landa, Karen Nicholson, Carol Porteous