Cat Sanctuary


It’s been a while since we’ve had a Detective Cat at the Sanctuary. We say that the Detective Cats are the ones smart enough to find their way to us, rather than us having to go out and get them.  In some cases they may be cats who have been dumped on the property; in others, they are feral or semi-feral cats who are drawn by the feline society and by the potential of food.  If trapped, they are given the name of a fictional detective. Detective Cats have included Magnum and Kojak (now passed), Watson (adopted), Cagney and Horatio.  Steele, in the back courtyard, not only found us, he cat-burgled his way in, and was rewarded by being named for Remington Steele.

Rico is our latest detective – named for Rico Tubbs, from “Miami Vice”,  When the staff get reports of a strange cat hanging around outside, traps are set at dawn and dusk and watched carefully.  We’re not sure where Rico came from, but he was at least semi-feral, and savvy enough to know how to look after himself.  On the edge of fields and woodland, there are always rats and mice around – the stupid ones actually get into the Sanctuary – and a cat can live quite well if it can avoid the raccoons and coyotes.

There were no flies on Rico – it actually took at least a week to catch him. Once safely behind bars, we were able to begin the process of coaxing him into trusting us. He’s obviously had some contact with humans, and was willing to be petted, though he doesn’t solicit touch. Typically, once “released”, it took awhile before he was ready to exit the cage, and he made the acquaintance of a few of the local host cats. Newcomer SophieCat wasn’t exactly a welcomer – she just believed that every bed was there for her benefit.

Sharing with SophieCat was not what Rico had in mind. New cats in the Double-Wide either make their way to the back deck and the “Red Light District”, or brave two sets of doors to get into the back courtyard.  Rico had had the taste of freedom, and the back deck was too confining; it wasn’t long before he was exploring the back pens and enjoying the combination of safety and freedom.

We have no idea where he’s come from – he has a look of our “cow cats” from the composting facility, but he is slimmer and more active. He’s not bonded with any of the other cats yet, and he’s wary around some of the dominant males, but we think he’s still pretty young, and feeling his way in feline society. He often hangs out in Pen 1 with newcomer Odin, who is also wary, and he has been found cuddled up with Darius, who’s a pretty easygoing boy, and a good mentor for him.

Now he’s out and about, he’s less likely to approach us for petting – but he loves to play, and attention with a wand toy gives him a pretty good sense about which volunteers are good for a game. As the colder weather approaches, it will be interesting to see if he prefers to remain an outdoor cat, or if he also discovers that there are warm and cosy beds indoors.

For now he’s happy to lounge around and catch what’s left of the fall sunshine. Good detecting, Rico – you chose the right place to come to!


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Jess Breitkreitz, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Brigid Coult, Karen Nicholson