When Gypsy first arrived at RAPS, he was so scared of people that it was unclear whether he was feral or had once been tame but lost his trust of humans. Over time, he's gradually come to be more of a fan of the humans at the sanctuary, winning some human fans for himself in turn.
While some have known Gypsy as a girl (probably inspired partly by the name and partly by the fact that the box for "female" was checked on his file), he has been verified to be, well, a "he." Such confusion happens from time to time with the occasional cat at the shelter, usually when we get an idea in our heads that a particular cat seems like a boy or girl but don't feel it polite to look up the kitty's skirt to make sure. Fortunately, cats tend not to care how people define them. After all, they already know exactly who and what they are.
Back to Gypsy. My first encounter with him was last summer when Ann was helping me do a behind the scenes post for the blog. Gypsy was in one of the back pens where the ferals feel most comfortable. While he let me get close enough to take his picture, he was clearly a bit nervous about me and scooted off when I tried to approach within touching distance.
When I finally had a chance to go and meet him properly this week, he was snoozing on a board by the fence and initially I wasn't sure if I'd have much better luck than I had before.
I was pleasantly surprised to find him quite interested in making friends. Not only did he allow me to pat him, but he enjoyed it so much that when I stopped, he proceeded to follow me around the pen.
I think I can get some idea why his fans love him so dearly.
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.