We are sanctuary for so many cats who have no other options. But getting them into our care is often the work of other devoted rescuers.
Thanks to our Assistant Manager, Valerie, we have close ties with a rescue in Kamloops called Sammy’s Forgotten Felines, who refused to accept that a large colony of cats should just be euthanized, and managed to trap, neuter and find places for all of them. For some of the cats, that was made possible by fostering, taming and then adopting them out; we accepted groups of the more feral cats and allowed them to proceed at their own pace.
The cats in Pen 6 are all from Sammy’s; of them all, only Persimmon and Chamomile are really handleable, and the others accept us as providers of food, and the occasional touch, and otherwise regard most of us with some suspicion.
The big trapping operation that formalised Sammy’s Forgotten Felines is over, but there continue to be feral cats in the Kamloops area who are brought in and cared for, and some of the originals have resisted taming. Two of the most recent that have come to us are Thorne and Daffodil – both from the original colony. Daffodil is yet another of the orange fuzzies – small with lots of fluff; Thorn is a long-haired light tabby with a dense, darker outer coat.
In their initial cage-time with us, the Kitty Comforters and the cat-whisperers spent time with both of them, but it became obvious that this was going to need lots of patience. Both can be touched, but don’t yet accept it with any real enthusiasm; Daffodil in particular tends to stay in her bed and will eventually allow petting, but every time, you have to begin the process over again. She is happiest when the petting comes from cat-whisperer Lisa, who she trusts.
Their cage time was in the Newcomers area, across the courtyard from Pen 6, where the other SFF cats hang out. Once released from cages, the two cats had very different reactions. Daffodil went upward to “safety”; she can usually be found on the cage top, or, preferably, tucked away behind a drape in her bed. In the latter situation, she can be accessed via a set of steps. She has not yet left the safety of Newcomers, though increasingly she is coming down to lower levels, and when the weather allows leaving the doors open, we hope she will explore across the courtyard and re-encounter her family.
Thorne found his way out of Newcomers, though he still returns to visit, and to enjoy the warmth; however, he also explores extensively, and likes to visit in Pen 6, where he obviously recognises his “family”. He is harder to access because he moves around so freely, however, his curiosity about us is a real factor to give hope. He hovers when people are around; he can often be spotted under the courtyard table, and is ready to accept the odd handout – though cats like Pumpkin will frequently beat him to the target! He doesn’t yet have the confidence to push himself forward and snag a tidbit until he’s sure nobody else wants it.
But he seems to like the sound of a voice, and being talked to – and sometimes talks back – even though he backs away from actual contact, or allows it only when he feels he has no choice. Having watched a recent breakthrough with Midnight, I am hoping that keeping company with the other backyard boys – Sylar, Quinn & Midnight – will help convince him that he doesn’t need to be so fearful with us. As Midnight does with me, Thorne will actually accept a treat and the odd caress from Lisa’s hand.
It’s OK by us if Sanctuary cats prefer to remain ferals – but it is SO satisfying when they push past those fears and into relationship with us!
Featured Image: “Thorn” by Lisa Brill Friesen