We all have our favourite types, when it comes to cats – as well as our favourite individual cats. Some people favour the ginger ones, or the black ones; some look for the cuddly ones or the spicy ones. I have a weakness for the long-haired tabbies, especially the sad-faced ones. I loved Dickens, who I got to know early in my time in the Sanctuary, and I still miss my beloved Skittles, who began as a feral and became a loving lap-cat.
Skittles came from a group we called the Candy Cats, and the others are all still around – tabby SweetTart in with the barn-cats, Purdy, Hershey and Butterscotch hiding out in Pen 8, and the beautiful Cadbury, based in Pen 2.
Cadbury is one of those cats that the camera just loves – you almost can’t get a bad photo of him. He and Skittles were particularly close in their early days in Pen 6, but Skittles gravitated towards people, and Cadbury remained very shy.
He is something of a loner – he shares the cabin with a pretty cat-social bunch, but he can usually be found on his own shelf, keeping himself to himself. He’s not hissy-shy; he just pulls away from contact until he’s certain that he’s safe. Sometimes he can be very affectionate, but he rarely solicits petting.
He’s one of those fortunate long-haired tabbies that seems to be able to keep his fur in good condition. With some of the others the med-staff have to go in and shave mats off – or, in a worst-case situation, give them a complete lion-cut. No such indignity for Cadbury – he keeps himself well-groomed, and his wonderful neck-ruff is like a halo. In company with pretty Autumn in the front courtyard, Cadbury’s ruff becomes more blond, and it looks like he’s been to the salon for highlights.
Unlike a lot of the other back courtyard cats, he’s not particularly food-motivated, and when treats are on offer and the others crowd around, he stays out of the way. When I clean the Pen 2 cabin on Friday mornings, I bring a baggie of dental kibble, or some of my own cat’s “healthy” food as treats, and the other cats get very excited; Cadbury holds back, though he’s happy to crunch in, as long as nobody else is crowding him.
He comes across as a solemn, serious boy – but he can be playful with the right incentive: a grass stalk or a feather wand will have him batting at it like a kitten. But it needs to be solo play; when someone else wants in on it, Cadbury backs off and lets the more assertive cat win. Looking at his photos, I realized how few of them had other cats in them; he’s an expert at finding comfy places to settle where he won’t be disturbed by the rest of them.
The back courtyard is home to about 200 cats – probably more, when the weather is fine and the inside cats all come out to explore. Cadbury still manages to be The Cat Who Walks By Himself. Like most introverts, he needs a lot of alone time to support him through the times of togetherness. We’re glad that he has that choice.