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.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Morticia, the cat formerly known as “Maggie”

Morticia aka Maggie - MW
A new cat who arrives at the Cat Sanctuary is never simply released into the general population – that would be too stressful for everyone!  Instead, they start out inside a big private cage with a protective drape to hide behind if they wish and they’re allowed time alone to adjust to their new surroundings gradually.  This gives us and the other cats an opportunity to observe them and vice versa for a while without stressing out the newcomer.  Once released from their cage, cats who’ve had experience with people and with other cats soon begin to socialize but feral cats usually do something quite different – they either refuse to come out of the safety of their cage or they get as far away from us as they possibly can, either shrinking into a corner on top of the highest shelves or laying low in a hidden spot in a distant location outside.   Some of them, like Morticia, stay well out of sight like this for a long time, years even! 
Morticia - hiding out in Waldie's House - MM
When this tiny feral black and white cat, along with her four kittens, was trapped at a feeding site and brought to the Cat Sanctuary in 2008, she was first named “Maggie”.  However, because of her colouring and less than friendly (to say the least!) personality, she was soon re-named “Morticia”.  Her kittens, Donna, Twila, Rocky and Star,  grew up and settled into various parts of the Sanctuary.  All except Star, who went to the Rainbow Bridge a few years ago, are still there but, like their Mom, they haven’t warmed up to people.  However, unlike their Mom, they’ve at least been visible most of the time!

Rocky Slippers, Morticia's son - DW
Morticia was seldom seen but, perhaps feeling the need for a warmer place to hang out, she’s recently taken up residence in Waldie’s House, one of the buildings in the back courtyard.  
Once she made her presence known to us, a few brave volunteers took up the challenge of making friends with this cute but hissy/spitty/swatty little cat with the funny checker-board face. 
Morticia - MM
The greatest success so far has been had by Selena, the daughter of Kitty Comforter Anne.  Both Selena and her sister Ava take after their mother in being talented “cat whisperers”.  Their patience and gentle approach have resulted in several feral and semi-feral cats becoming more accepting of a human touch.  Selena has not only been able to get close to Morticia without being swatted but has even been able to pet her several times! 
Selena coaxing Morticia - MM
We’re not quite ready to re-name Morticia as “Maggie” but it’s wonderful to see that she’s undergoing a personality change at long last. 
Morticia deciding to pose - BC
Hopeful that Morticia’s new attitude would extend to me, I reached out to her recently but was quite firmly rejected with a hiss and a swat.  Oh, well!  I’m going to keep trying.  As long as she lets one person pet her, that’s a big step in the right direction.  Way to go, Selena!    Way to go, Morticia! 
Morticia - MW
Blog by Marianne Moore
Photos by Brigid Coult, Marianne Moore, Debbie Wolanski & Michele Wright

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