Visitors at the weekend are often surprised by how many cats there aren’t – at least to their immediate sight. The usual social ones are front and centre, and love having attention. Others may spend a little time being fussed, and then take themselves out of reach. It helps that we have no visitors indoors for a while, so there are lots of places to hide. But if visitors had X-ray vision, they would know that there are many feral cats hiding all over the Sanctuary.
The favourite place for ferals in the Double-Wide is the back deck. The semi-ferals there are beginning to explore via their private door, but even that is too scary for Kin. He spends most of his time hiding under the big armchair, or on one of the covered shelves. He will appear at mealtime, and will brave the presence of a human if there is food on offer – he likes chicken, though he’s not yet ready to accept it from my hand, and he’s always happier when I don’t look directly at him. With the right wand toy, he can be tempted into action – but always at a distance
|A long grass stalk is tempting (LBF)|
We don’t know with Kin if this is feral fear, or if he’s just a scared boy. He came to the Shelter as a stray, and had a lot of attention from the Kitty Comforters, but though he was adopted in early 2019, he was just too fearful, and he came back to us. Brad, who worked with him in the Shelter days, says that Kin will barely come out when called, though he does react to a familiar voice. Now that the back deck has its own cat door, he has started exploring outside – so perhaps he’s getting a bit braver.
Inside the main part of the Double-Wide, the easiest way for a feral to remain out of reach is to live on the cage-tops. When I first came to the Sanctuary, there was a big cage-top population, and we did as much feeding and scooping at the upper level as we did on the floor. Nowadays there are fewer “don’t touch me!” cats living there, and the area is more in use as a place for the regular cats to have some away-time; Eli, Plum, Delilah and many others cruise happily from one area to another.
|Kip guarding the cage-tops (LBF)|
Kip is a cage-top cat – very wary of contact, but also interested in what we’re up to. He doesn’t want to be touched, but he does want to see, and working at floor-level, volunteers will often become aware of The Stare from above. Kip came in from VOKRA – we will sometimes take some of the ferals they receive, since most of their work is done with fostering. Originally he was named Ken, but with Kin so close, the med-staff decided to change his name.
|Watching warily (LBF)|
Kip is the oldest of our three at around 12 years or so, and has become the focus of the cage-top ferals’ social whirl. He is often found snuggling with other cats – he is particularly fond of black buddies Traveller (more often known as Trevor) and little Sambuca, he likes shaggy Scooter, and he can often be found in the company of our third scaredy-cat, DC
|Kip & DC – tandem snoozing (BC)|
DC was trapped in our parking lot, which should make him a “detective cat“. The connection is tenuous, but he was named DC/Daniel Craig for the James Bond actor – so he’s a spy rather than a detective. Very definitely a feral, I’ve never been able to reach him – and yet, he’s the most adventurous of the three. He braves the exit through the laundry-room and down the breezeway to reach the gardens where he like to explore by himself. When it’s time to return, you can see him eyeing the humans around so that he can choose the moment to zip past us without being noticed. Very spy-like!
|DC in the garden (KN)|
But DC is not always so sneaky – he likes med-staff Alice, and allows her to pet him and give tummy-rubs. And I hear that when he can be cornered on a shelf, his delight in being touched makes him sing a little song of ecstasy! You wouldn’t guess it, to see him scurry past you in the garden, but there’s something inside him that admits that these humans are not such a bad thing, and that life at the Sanctuary has much to offer!
|Comfortable snuggles (MW)|