|Cheddar & Reno - MW|
Many volunteers have probably never met these three young cats in the Leukemia Room of the Single Wide, an area that doubles as the Sanctuary office. Although it’s a nice bright room, it’s a bit “off the beaten track” for even the most regular volunteers. In September, 2016, Keanu, Cheddar and Reno were transferred to RAPS from a shelter on Vancouver Island that didn’t have the facilities to keep cats who’d tested positive for the leukemia virus. Fortunately, we were able to take them into our care and they came to the Sanctuary. Reno was only about one year old at the time; Keanu and Cheddar just a few months old.
|Keanu & Cheddar - MW|
Because the Leukemia Room was temporarily occupied by a few cats from the City Shelter, the youngsters started out in “Animal Care Staff Only” cages in Hill House before being moved to their present location in November. Sometimes, young cats who test positive for leukemia overcome the virus and test negative when they’re a little older but, unfortunately, that hasn’t happened with these three cuties. They’ve just recently re-tested positive so will soon be on the move again, this time to a larger area in another building. It has an open deck so they’ll be able to enjoy the breeze, watch the birds go by and, best of all, be accessible for visits from more volunteers.
|Keanu - MM|
The two boys, Keanu and Cheddar, were quite shy but enjoyed being petted right from the start. Poor Keanu had a bit of a setback when he had to be treated for a cold and eye infection but seems to have forgotten that. Although they’re still easily startled, the guys have progressed to rolling over for tummy rubs! It’s hoped that more encounters with people will make them much braver still.
|Cheddar - MM|
Reno, being that much older when she arrived, has had a more difficult time trusting us. Up until just recently, any attempt by me to touch her or even get close to her with a string toy or treat was met with a loud hiss and swats. But then she learned that the wand of a string toy rubbed on her chin felt good and that if she wanted a treat she had to edge in close to the other two, even if that meant being touched by my hand – eeek!
|Reno - MM|
However, after many visits with her and quite a bit of blood loss (all mine, none hers), she one day took a leap of faith and rested her front paws on my hand. Breakthrough! She then quickly moved past that to sniffing my finger and allowing a few little cheek and ear rubs. If I move in too fast, she’ll slap my hand but with her claws retracted and, when her back is turned to look out the window, she’ll even tolerate some proper petting down her back! I don’t expect that she’ll ever turn into a cuddling, purring lap cat, but I like to think that she’ll at least come to find pleasure and comfort from us big, scary people and that she’ll be healthy enough to enjoy those interactions with us for many, many years to come.
Blog by Marianne Moore
Photos by Marianne Moore & Michele Wright