Cat Sanctuary

Torbie Twins (not!)

Ariel and Aspen are two pretty torbie girls who came in around the same time, and could easily be mistaken for sisters, but who in fact have no blood relationship.  Aspen is from a shelter in Shuswap, and Ariel came from Sammy’s Forgotten Felines, in Kamloops.

Our Sanctuary Assistant Manager was one of the founders of the latter rescue, and still maintains her links in Kamloops. Sammy’s grew out of a need to help feral cats who were not necessarily adoptable. Many rescues around the province will take in cats, but if they prove not to be tamable in a fairly short space of time, they are often put down. The women who founded Sammy’s had no deadline; if a cat remained terrified or angry, they would pull strings with other rescues (like RAPS) to find alternative homes.  The important thing was to get all the cats of a colony trapped and spayed/neutered so that the cycle of continuous litters of kittens was broken.

One situation outside the city boundaries proved particularly hard; it had been cleared once, but the owner continued to hoard cats and the colony grew again. The cats were also not being fed well (mostly bread!) so there were frequent stillbirths and malformed kittens. Once more, Sammy’s went in with traps, hoping to get all the cats.  Ariel was one of the last hold-outs; Valerie tells me that she would taunt the trappers by sitting on top of the trap, waiting to be fed while the door was still tied open.

Most of the cats from that situation are very small – probably largely a result of malnourishment – and several of them had to be taught to eat cat-food now that bread was no longer on offer. Interestingly enough, most of them have also semi-tamed; Barbara, Bruley, Baxter and ZsaZsa have all been adopted; Sailor is friendly (if a little nippy!); Ursula still hangs out on the DoubleWide deck – and, now that it has a cat-door, she’s exploring the courtyard.

Ariel had no time for taking it easy on the back deck – she wanted out and she wanted action!  She’s not as tame as Sailor, though she will allow a little petting, but she’s no scared feral; you work around Ariel, rather than expecting her to move!  She’s playful – bring out a feather toy or a long blade of grass, and she’ll all attention.  She’ll even tackle the big bad hose that’s out to water the gardens, and smacks it until it lies still.

Aspen has spent most of her time with the others on the DW deck, but like them, is now using the new cat-door out to the back courtyard, and exploring more often. She’s much shyer than Ariel, and very wary of humans approaching her.

Both girls have the classic tabby “M” on the forehead that makes them torbies rather than calicos. Ariel has more tabby colouring; Aspen has more orange in her fur. I look for the front legs, when telling them apart;  Ariel has a tabby right foreleg, full sleeve, and Aspen’s right foreleg is all white. Their faces are very similar, with Aspen having more white on her nose than Ariel.  And now that they’re hanging out in the same area, it’s even easier to get these non-twins confused!



Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Brigid Coult,
Karen Nicholson, Valerie Wilson, Michele Wright
Video by Karen Nicholson