Cats that prefer to be alone are a cliche for good reason, but at the Sanctuary we have many cats who truly enjoy each other’s company.
|Plum (R) just looooves her Tugboat! – KN|
A quick visit to the back pens reminds us that cats are well used to living together. The closed pens hold cats who are used to sharing space, but the open pens also hold colonies of cats who prefer to snuggle with each other, and who can always be found in the same cabins.
|Spicer and Shaggy – VL|
Cats will often have real attachments to each other – all have been spayed/neutered, but love is about much more than sex. Often cats have come in to us as a pair, and the bond is apparent. And when one of the couple passes, there can be very real grieving. Shaggy and Spicer came into the Moore House together, and settled very happily; an older couple, they comforted each other through the transition of moving to the Sanctuary. They were rarely apart; where you sat with Spicer, Shaggy would also come, and the deck was their favourite area.
|Shaggy with Chanel – MW|
But Spicer was not well, and when she eventually passed, Shaggy was bereft. Volunteers and staff would make a point of visiting with him and giving him what comfort we could. But comfort was also gradually offered by Chanel. She had come to us as a very scared girl, and preferred to spend her time on top of cages, though she allowed occasional petting. Increasingly, we found her in Shaggy’s company, and the two are now a settled pair.
|Samantha in her cover-girl days – MW|
Samantha was, in her younger days, one of the most beautiful of the cats – you couldn’t get a bad picture of her. She’s still pretty, but a more senior lady now, sometimes a little more bedraggled – and she doesn’t always appreciate grooming.
|Basket means coziness! – LP|
Her guy was VanDyke, a very shy black boy with a double haematoma – both ears crinkled by burst blood vessels. He was one of our many cats with kidney disease, and it wasn’t always easy for the med staff to give him the Sub-Q fluids that made him feel better because he was so wary of us.The only times he seemed really relaxed were when he was with Samantha.
|Eclipse with Samantha – how close can I get? – KN|
When VanDyke passed, Samantha retired to Waldi’s Hut, where she had the comfort of Chimo and his buddy PawPaw. She’s still there, even though PawPaw’s gone; Chimo remains her best gay friend – but the cat she has come to love is another shy black boy, called Eclipse. Eclipse came from the same place as Jay-Z and may be his brother or his father; the two don’t interact, and Eclipse prefers his own company or Samantha’s.
|Dusty with her beloved Salty – DW|
Long-term Sanctuary volunteers still talk about our Romeo cats in the back area – Mario, and Salty, both of which had a harem of both boyfriends and girlfriends. After Salty passed, his best girl, Dusty, was bereft – like Mario’s Nelly, she seemed to be looking for him.
|Ridley with Dusty – BC|
Inasmuch as one cat can take on Salty’s mantle, it seems that it’s fallen to Ridley, who was also part of the Salty cuddle-puddle. Ridley is something of a magnet for our shyer boys like Ringo (who is now venturing outside more regularly). But he’s also become Dusty’s guy, and the two can often be found cuddled up together, or flirting at the Double-Wide entrance.
|Lounging together – BC|
At the Sanctuary they all have choice, just like humans – to be introverted and alone, to indulge a full social like without specific emotional links, or to find a soul-mate to love and be loved by. And when/if, sadly, their partner passes, if they’re open to it and lucky, someone else will fill the space in their heart.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Vicki Lo, Karen Nicholson, Lisa Parker,
Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright