When Ziggy Girl arrived at the sanctuary back in August, she was so stressed that banshee shrieks and violent lunges seemed to be her chosen mode of self expression. She would now and again show glimpses of a softer, gentler side, but it took very little to get her back on the defensive (if one interprets defensiveness according to the motto that "the best defense is a good offense").
Earlier this month, she was released from her cage. I was initially worried that she'd run off and hide somewhere where she'd never get a chance to know us better, but she surprised me by staying put in the doublewide, parking herself between a chair and a shelf where she could comfortably peek at everyone. It was also pleasantly surprising how easily she could be coaxed out for some strokes, rubs and purrs.
This week she'd moved herself out to the back porch and staked out a little den under a cover on one of the chairs. This didn't exactly seem to be progress, but anytime I went out there and called her, these two round eyes and tufted ears would emerge, followed by the rest of her, ready for cuddles. She even welcomed being stroked by two pairs of hands at once (something Gunther still tends to find rather threatening).
That said, she is still not overfond of other cats encroaching on her personal space and will (so far) invariably respond with a hiss.
She also seems not to have learned how to hold back when she bites, so that the only way she could think of to tell volunteer Ayako that she needed a little break from being patted last week was to bite her really hard on the leg. Hopefully she'll start learning that this sort of thing really isn't necessary: if she does it too often, she'll get herself a reputation as A Biter. And then many people will be less likely to take a chance on her... when a chance is exactly what she needs.
RAPS is short for Richmond Animal Protection Society, a registered charity and operator of a sanctuary which houses and cares for more than 400 homeless or abandoned cats in Richmond, BC, Canada. The Neko Files is a celebration of the sanctuary and all those who live and work there.