Since I started volunteering the spring of 2009, Sara Lee has been one of my most dedicated helpers when I dish out the doublewide cats' wet food every week.
Given Sara Lee's dedication to helping - "helping" - with the preparation of dinner, it may seem odd that I haven't dedicated a post to her in the past.
The reason is largely a case of mistaken, or at very least uncertain, identity. While Sara Lee is attentive and affectionate for the duration of the time it takes me to serve out 12 large plates of wet food, after this she promptly disappears. Sometimes the confusingly similar looking Noelle will mysteriously appear in her place, the two having somehow pulled a switcheroo while my back was turned.
These sorts of shenanigans led to a long period of uncertainty on my part as to which little black cat I was looking at.
Sara Lee - now that I can be sure it is she - was trapped as a feral youngster along with her sister Sara Lou back in 2003 by Mary Pritchard, having come from one Mary's feeding sites in the Steveston area. Despite being only 1 - 2 years old herself, Sara Lee already had kittens.
Arriving at the sanctuary, Sara Lee and Sara Lou were put in a cage together but, overnight, Sara Lou chewed her way out and disappeared into the back yard. For reasons known only to herself, Sara Lee opted not to follow her sister to possible freedom, instead staying put in her cage.
As a result, while Sara Lou never did tame up, Sara Lee's early and continued exposure to RAPS staff and volunteers turned her into a friendly, cuddly purr-machine who's as comfortable with people as can be.
Especially if it happens to be feeding time.