We have Royalty in our midst – you may admire, but should not touch!
When RAPS first came into being, it was in the form of Richmond Homeless Cats, and in that format and subsequently as Richmond Animal Protection Society, our focus was all on the animals of our own municipality. A name-change to become the Regional Animal Protection Society signalled an awareness that we could be reaching much further afield, and links were made with individuals and organizations across the province. Cats came to our care from Vancouver Island, from Revelstoke, from Haida Gwaii, from the Kootenays. And from further afield – Pops and Sparrow from California, many cats from Alberta rescues, Jasmine and Picasso from Manitoba.
Some have come because of links with a rescue; others because a single person rescued them but couldn’t give the cat the home that it needed. Some readers may remember Terry and Tinker, both disabled and largely incontinent. Tinker actually came from China, and has his happy-ever-after in the home and under the loving care of former manager Lisa.
Princess’s rescuer was among our summer visitors, and was immediately enthralled by the Sanctuary. Though Canadian, he had family in Iran, among whom was an elderly relative who cared for some of the many feral cats in her neighbourhood. He was concerned for her health, and for what would happen to her favourites – especially one particular cat – when she was no longer able to tend them. There were extensive discussions with the staff, and he took the responsibility for trapping the cat and bringing it all the way from Iran to our care, where he sponsors her through our program.
Princess is the perfect name for her. She is a tortie full of tortitude, and she takes no sass from any other cat. Nor does she take it from humans – not that we would dare! She’s a touch-me-not girl, ready to slap if she feels you’re in her bubble. But unlike a lot of ferals, who spend most of their time avoiding us, Princess hovers about two meters away – she’s interested in us, but she doesn’t actually want attention.
She lives in the south wing of the back courtyard, in the beds that back onto the Single-Wide, and in the building we call Waldi’s Hut. When I’m cleaning on a Friday morning, she will often follow me from one pen to another, not looking for interaction, but curious about what I’m doing. She will listen when I talk, but not approach; when she settles somewhere the other cats hang out, they know to give her a wide berth.
Like many of the back courtyard cats, she knows I carry a bribery bag of chicken tidbits, and she quite likes the idea of chicken, but doesn’t appreciate all the chickaholics who crave it as well. She has only taken food from my hand when it was flat and still for at least five minutes, without anyone else horning on the goodies; any hint of movement on my part, and I get a good smack! The usual scroungers – Midnight, Sylar and Pumpkin – usually get in the way of handouts, and will also get smacked if they get too close.
I’m told, though, that when her sponsor comes to visit, and talks to her in Farsi, she turns into a flirt with him – not a lap-cat yet, but demonstrating pretty clearly that he is her person, and we’re just not good enough! Ah, well – we’ve lots of patience for a character like Princess!
Featured image: Karen Nicholson