When I first wrote about Tricia two years ago, she enjoyed being tickled and stroked... if you could get past her strong impulse to flee the moment she saw a hand reaching toward her. The only really reliable way to get some cuddle time with her was to corner her, but that moment where she'd invariably look at me in wide-eyed horror before she remembered that being patted was pretty nice always felt so awkward. And so it's been a little while since I tried "tormenting" her with cuddles.
When, on a whim, I reached out to her this evening, I was surprised that she didn't try to run away. Sure, she still crouched down just before contact like she half expected something awful to happen to her, but she didn't run away. And before I knew it, we were having a lengthy cuddle that she enjoyed without reservation. I was even able to go away and come back several times throughout my shift without feeling like I had to win her trust all over again each time (as had been the routine before).
Whether Tricia's gained confidence thanks to the determined efforts of one or two people or just repeated interaction with all volunteers and staff over a period of time, I don't know. But it's so nice to see her able to accept and enjoy some affection without having to be backed into a corner.
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.