The RAPS Cat Sanctuary is so-named because we are a place of safety for many cats who have no other options. There are shelters and rescues around the province who do wonderful work, but who are unable to offer long-term options for ferals, for leukemia cats, for the incontinent or aggressive. Tucker is one such cat.
When you watch Tucker get around, it’s easy to see that he’s not quite in control of his body. Like our sweet Honey Bear (now gone) his movements are a little jerky and without the usual elegance of a cat. There’s a slightly unfocused look to his eyes, as if he can see something we can’t; that may actually be a vision issue, because he had eye problems that needed treatment for a while, but I’m inclined to think it ties more to his neurological issues.
Med-staff Molly says “He’s getting better with the other cats, and knows to steer clear of the more assertive personalities, but he will attack the older, sweeter ones like Tuggy and Dazzle. I think it’s that he can tell they’re easy targets. I’m hopeful that he’ll learn not to, but everything takes him twice as long to figure out. He’s an incredibly sweet boy, who loves to be held and sit on laps. Just do it with an ounce of caution, as he gets nasty when other cats are around, or when he gets set down he may lash out. I have a soft spot for him, but he’s not the most popular with everyone else”.
Tucker’s foster in Victoria also has a soft spot for him, but recognized that he was not a cat for anyone but a really cat-savvy person. When we have visitors at the weekend, Tucker is caged so that he doesn’t get over-stimulated. Once visitors have gone, he emerges and wanders, exploring with no sense of other cats’ territory. Med staff are used to keeping an eye on him, and watching to see when things have become a bit too much and he needs to be back in his peaceful place. Even feisty Jasper can become a target at such times, and it’s always better to intervene before an actual cat-fight takes place.
We have a limited number of cages for med-care and new cats, and don’t usually allow any cage-space to be claimed, though there are always exceptions – many long-term volunteers will fondly remember little tuxedo Aurora, who spent most of her life with us, refusing to leave her cage. And big blond Oscar (now adopted) would sulk and refuse to eat when shut out of his favourite space. Tucker’s cage is a safe refuge for him, and it’s large enough that it can have its own cat-tree, to make his (occasionally unsteady) climbing a bit safer. Molly says that part of his self-soothing seems to be lying is a slightly twisted posture with his head thrown back – it doesn’t look comfortable, but he does it often enough that it obviously does give him comfort.