At the beginning of this week, whatever Powers-That-Be that decree the names of specific days informed the world that Monday was National Siblings Day in the US and Canada. We’d just been posting a bunch of other stuff to social media, so we decided that this week’s blog would give us a Belated Siblings Day at the Cat Sanctuary.
Family groups have always been a thing at the Sanctuary, and over thirteen years of volunteering here, I have known and loved many – now passed. Long-time volunteers will fondly remember one-eyed Val and her family: Savannah, Paulo, Silverfox and Latte. Pretty Hope, in the Connor, is the last of her family – brothers Domino and GusGus are gone now. We lost our beloved Miller – preceded some time before by sisters Fiona and Schatze.
But there is no lack of siblings around, because we are frequently a resource for other shelters who cannot accommodate large groups – usually family groups – of semi-feral cats. Our own most recent population explosion brought in what we call the McLeod cats, and though some were adopted, Juno, Nyx, Atlas and Mercury are regular occupants of Pen 1, and are in no haste to gain tame-cat status. Also in Pen 1, but from a different source, are orange brothers Chumley and Siskel – both fast to slap out at someone who comes too close.
There have to be siblings in Pen 3, though there’s no knowing precisely who’s related to who. My guess is that Reinhardt and Holly may be sibs – similar in build, though not in colouring, and with the same light green eyes, and Baker and Jenkins are look-alike tuxes (though Baker is now a chonk!).
In Pen 4 we have two long-haired tabby boys who came from Kamloops. Lloyd and Len are practically always found together; they’re very shy (as most of the pen 4 ferals are), but they love each other’s company.
There can be no denying the family resemblance in Pen 6 – from the same rescue in Kamloops, though from a different colony, many of us struggle to tell the difference between Persimmon, Buffy, Kumquat, Creamsicle, Cheeto, Ginger and Rapunzel. At least Kelvin and Billy are short-haired, and though Chamomile and Chaga are floofs like the first group, their colouring makes them easy to identify among the sea of orange fur!
Our newcomers in Pen 8 (now on the loose) are equally identifiable AND non-identifiable. SweetPea and Curious have different coloured eyes, and very different behaviour; Zoe, Cleo and Betsy all have the same dark faces and dark stockings. Whether they’re from one litter or more, they are undoubtedly related to each other. They have settled to Sanctuary life really well – a measure of the care they got before they came to us.
A very noticeable set of siblings are the “fruit girls” – calicos Honeydew, Melon and Kiwi in the front courtyard, and tabbies Dominique and Kahlua came in together with pretty Chai. Floofy boy Mozart is probably the brother of shyer Caleb.
Other siblings are around, but not so immediately noticeable. Solar and Mabel in the front courtyard no longer have contact with their brother Midnight who now lives at the back; Titan and Dixie are rarely found together – Titan prefers the comforts of the Connor, while Dixie would rather be with the ferals. Carly, Christina and Celine all came in together, and are probably related – but you couldn’t tell by the way they don’t interact. But then, that’s families for you – sometimes you love ‘em, sometimes you can do without them – though it’s usually good to know they’re there!
Featured image: Honeydew & Melon by Karen Nicholson