At the back of the single-wide trailer is a small room, used as the Sanctuary office, but known to all as the Leukemia Room. Most of our feline Leukemia cats now live in what’s called the Old Aids / Val Jones complex, and there’s usually a little juggling around to get the best combination of cats that will get along together: who can cope with bossy Merlin? who can stand up to aggressive Jerry?
But the Leukemia Room is home to just a few very quiet cats, who benefit from the calm space, and also from the removal from all the feline cold germs that get passed around. They get no casual Sunday visitors, though on other days there are always volunteers who will go in and spend time with them. Smoochie has lived there for some time; he was joined by our lovely Harry and most recently by big fluffy Bear. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of shy Marlowe.
|Smoochie - Harry - Bear (MW)|
Volunteers know that working with leukemia cats means careful hand-washing before and after – but Leukemia Room volunteers also know that working here means watching carefully for a small black cat, who paces the floor outside the doors of both entrances.
|Harvest & Marlowe (DW)|
I had finished my Single-wide shift last week, and was sitting in the outside area of the Leukemia room, cuddling with Harry – who, as volunteers know, is a very single-minded cuddler! Marlowe emerged from her bed on the shelf and sat glaring at me; Marlowe is not a cuddler, and doesn’t see why anyone else should be.
There was a flurry of activity from the deck beyond the door, where a plate of food was being served, and then a little black cat detached itself from the crowd and came over to the door. Marlowe perked up; eyeing me cautiously, she descended the ramp to the door, and the two cats had a rubbing-and-posing conversation for about five minutes.
At this point it became obvious that it wasn’t Harvest that was weaving and flirting and saying “I want to be in there” – Harvest has a white spot on his front, and this was an all-black cat. I got some pictures and went to find med-staff Leslie, who knows all the cats. Who was this, taking Harvest’s place in Marlowe’s heart?
So does Marlowe swing both ways? Is she just a sucker for any black cat? (though she’s not particularly interested in either Smoochie or Bear). Is she the feline equivalent of a sailor with a date in every port? – she has a flirt at each door… It’s certainly not the simple love-story I’d envisaged.
Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Debbie Wilcox Wolanski & Michele Wright