The swarm of little cats that came to us in 2021 from an Alberta hoarding situation are steady fixtures now. A couple of them were adopted (Finneas and Shimmer) but between having no visitors since last fall, and almost-overflowing adoption centre, the rest of them have remained in their Sanctuary home. They have adapted to various degrees; some, like Reinhardt, are not interested in interacting with humans; others, like Cornelius, flirt with humans and cats alike.
My own little heart-cat in this clowder is pretty Holly. She might well be Reinhardt’s sister; though with different colouring, they have similar shape and the same beautiful translucent green eyes. Initially very shy, Holly has blossomed with the people she trusts. She doesn’t range as freely as some of the boys, and Pen 3 remains the centre of her community. But when you enter the cabin, Holly is always one of the greeters.
What makes a cat get labelled “tame”? For me, it’s usually about comfort with touch, and especially with lap-time. My own boy is “tame” but carries the remains of a fearful feral, and has only recently started crossing my lap – he prefers to rest beside me. Holly has no hesitation in jumping up in my lap; she loves being fussed and petted, and is pretty food-motivated.
Holly’s drawback is her fur – like many fine-furred cats, she mats easily, and if volunteers don’t have time to brush her every day (and we don’t!), this seemingly fluffy gal suddenly presents with big lumps close to the skin. It’s a constant problem, especially with the outside-pen cats – there’s no way we can handle them all every day, and Holly’s the sort of cat that needs daily grooming. Right now there are several cats with bad haircuts, where mats have been clipped out by the med-staff; when the warmer weather arrives, many of the bad haircuts will be exchanged for something more drastic, and there will be little lions in the back pens.
Not surprisingly, Holly is none too cooperative about being groomed – I’m sure those mats hurt! – and most of the grooming I can do is confined to preventing new mats appearing, rather than taking out the ones that are there. At least she is happy to be handled; her buddy Cornelius has similar fur, and is often seen with dreadlocks. Though friendly and flirty, he is less tame and doesn’t really want all the handling that goes with being groomed.
Of all the Pen 3 clowder, I would put Holly high on the “possibly adoptable” list. Because most of these cats are so social, I would guess that an adoption application that involved her and one of her buddies would be the most likely to be approved, and would make a move from the Sanctuary less stressful for them both. When we open again for visitors later in the spring, a lot more people will have a chance to visit with the Pen 3 cats, and with some of the others who are not ready for a stay in the Adoption Centre, but who are definitely adoptable.
To have a home where she might be groomed and petted every day would probably be Holly’s idea of heaven.
Featured Image “Holly” by Karen Nicholson