The volunteer or visitor who enters with special treats in hand is welcomed by a crowd of eager cats, many of them with tails in the air – one sign of a happy cat. But five of our front courtyard cats have to find another way to demonstrate their happiness – you see, they’re a little short in the tail department!
One of them has already been introduced – her name is Carly Simon, and she came to us as one of a bunch of farm cats. She’s among sweet Hope’s closest friends, and right now she is caged and recovering from a case of vestibular disease that has left her feeling wobbly and nauseous. She’s making steady progress, but it may be awhile before we’re ready to let her jump and climb.
Carly looks as if her tail was broken and reset at an angle. It’s a little stumpy tail that goes in two directions, and though we wondered at first if it was an injury, when she first came to us, this little pregnant mama produced a litter of kittens, some of whom also showed the same tail mutation.
The other “stumpies” in the front courtyard are Bowie and Jett. Bowie and his “rocker” buddies came in to us from Kamloops back in 2021, and they don’t live up to their “out there” human models – they’re all very shy, and are of the dawn-and-dusk variety of cats. Bowie is a floofy black boy, with a floofy stump of a tail; Jett is shorthaired, with a short tail They can often be found around the YellowDoor area, hiding behind the flower beds – any hint of moving in their direction, and they scuttle to find somewhere to hide.
The other two are “rumpies” rather than “stumpies” – not true-breed Manx (who tend to be very chonky and rump-heavy) but just cats with an accidental no-tail mutation. Chicharron (known as Cheech) is one of those “who IS that black cat?” boys, who becomes instantly identifiable when he turns his back. He has chubby cheeks, and a little splash of white on his bib. He is one of a group of cats that trappers Lisa and Ken brought in from a nearby industrial complex. We think he’s less than two years old.
Cheech is quite mobile, and visits all over the front courtyard. I’ve mostly found him in the porch of the Connor, though I’m told he likes to be on the cage-tops. He’s quite shy on first acquaintance, but the more he’s petted, the wigglier and more relaxed he gets. His name (Chicharron is a Mexican-style dish of crispy pork rinds) belies his gentle nature. I think Lisa was into food names; we also have Tamale, and there’s a whole group of Thanksgiving cats to be introduced later: Cornbread, Tater, Creampuff, Truffle and others…
The last of the group is a very distinctive dark young calico who came in as Butterflower, and had her name changed to Butterfinger. We were concerned at first that we had another Manx Syndrome cat here, because initially she didn’t use her litter box regularly, and soiled her bedding. But as she became more used to us, that eased off, and we think it was mainly a stress thing. Her name change linked with her habit of upsetting her litter-box and handing the volunteers a regular mess to clear up!
Butterfinger was one of those cats who at first refused to come forward, and huddled fearfully on the shelf of her cage out of reach. However, like Eddie, the release from the cage changed her attitude, and when approached with gentleness, she is happy to accept caresses. She is happier still to play; she is a dedicated fly-chaser when she has the opportunity, and a good feather toy has her leaping and stalking in company with the other three calicos. She’s a social girl, and seems to enjoy the company of other cats.
At the Sanctuary, it’s not necessary to have a tail in order to live the good life!