Cat Sanctuary

Shy Chai

Chai  (MW)

Some of our Sanctuary cats come directly to us – either by arrangement with a former owner, or through another shelter.  Cats that are adoptable go, if there is room, to the Adoption Centre. This summer and fall it has been very full of youngsters who were fostered by the many wonderful people who take on pregnant moms and see them through their last litters.  However, we still have cats coming in as local strays.  A group of these, this past summer, included pretty Chai and her buddies Dominique and Kahlua;  all spent a bit of time in the Adoption Centre but were obviously ferals, rather than just scared, shy cats, and were eventually transferred to us at the Sanctuary.

Chai (LBF)

They had an initial cooling-off period in cages before they were let out.  Many of our visitors know about the feral cat pens in the back, but what is not so obvious is that there are a lot of ferals in the front courtyard as well. Visitors rarely see them – there are a lot of places to hide – but those of us who volunteer know that most ferals prefer dawn and dusk to emerge and explore.  I need to spend some more front courtyard time to try and sort out who’s who – there’s a trio of little tabbies (Kahlua and Dominique are two of them) that I’m still trying to tell apart, and there are a whole lot more black cats – and nobody can hide like a black cat!

a favourite spot for watching through the fence… (KN)

The three of them split up;  Kahlua hangs out between the Hill House and the feral area known as the Old Rabbit Area;  Dominique can be found around the gazebo – and wherever chicken is on offer!  Chai preferred to stay in the vicinity of the Connor House. Dominique likes the Connor too, but she and Chai don’t seem particularly close. As you can see, it’s very hard for Chai to be anonymous; we rarely have such a pretty girl as this and she stands out (when she’s not hiding).

on guard at the Connor  (KN)

My first instinct was to label her as a silver tabby – she has the clear tabby M on her head, and her darker markings are characteristic tabby.  But those blue eyes say something else, and she’s defined in our records as a lynx-point Siamese – a tabby/Siamese combination. Female cats can give birth to kittens sired by more than one male, so we don’t know whether Chai has her looks from the genetics of her ancestry, or whether a local Siamese male got lucky at the right time.

what iz?…




do I have to?…  (KN)

She will go into the Connor building – especially if the door remains open and there is food on offer – but she’s wary about being confined, and her favourite places to hang out are on the various shelves on the porch. She likes to sit by the fence and watch for birds and rodents; she’s obviously a would-be hunter!  I’ve not managed to pet her yet, but I’m told that when she is backed into a corner, she will (reluctantly) accept touch. She’s not as food-motivated as Dominique, and watching her eat, you get the feeling she’s a little picky, so finding her tame-the-feral button may not be easy.  But we have a lot of patient people – staff and volunteers – who will spend time to coax her out of hiding, and teach her that life at the Sanctuary is pretty good.


Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson & Michele Wright