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      Rascal is a gorgeous long haired black and white boy who came to live at the sanctuary in September 1996. We call him Rascal because of the touch of mischief in his beautiful, bright eyes. However, that name would most certainly not have applied to him when he first arrived here!
      We had heard about him from a lady who had been feeding some feral cats behind a restaurant. Driving off one day, she glanced to the side and and much to her surprise, spotted a cat curled up inside a drainage pipe right next to a busy road. For the next few months she would place food inside the pipe for him. Although he would eat once she had left, he would not approach while she was still there.
      We had been in contact with this good Samaritan because we had fixed and vaccinated the feral colony that she was feeding. She happened to mention Rascal in conversation and we drove over to take a look. What we found was a very bedraggled cat with an extremely knotted coat curled up in a ball inside the pipe. He barely moved and when he glanced up at us, the thing that struck us most was the absolute lifelessness in his eyes. We knew that we had to get to him fast. At first his caretaker was very resistant to our moving him. We find this to be a frequent problem. The caretakers think that the cats they are feeding are just fine and that things should be left be as they are. However, once we start working with them and show them how much the quality of the catsí lives improve once they are fixed and vaccinated, we can usually bring them around to our way of thinking.
      The caretaker eventually agreed that it would be better for Rascal if we took him, so we set up a humane trap. We were able to catch him in less than five minutes. An immediate trip to the vet was in order so we whisked him over there. He was fixed, vaccinated, tested for feline leukemia and aids, (negative), and wormed. He was riddled with parasites which was why his general health was so bad. Untreated parasites can be very debilitating and are one of the main killers of abandoned cats. He also needed dental work on some broken teeth. We approximated his age to be about six years. Life had obviously not treated this poor boy well!
      Once a cat has been vet checked, we make a decision as to whether it should be returned to its previous environment. This decision is partly based upon the catís overall health, a good food supply and a safe location. In Rascalís case, it was obvious that two out of the three conditions would fail the test - health and safe location. It was therefore decided that it was better for him to remain in our care.
      Rascal is such a sweet and gentle soul. It took him a little while to trust us but once he lets his guard down, he is a true delight. Unfortunately, he is terrified of strangers and will run and hide. However, we have noticed that with patience, he can be coaxed out and just revels in the attention. We get the greatest joy from looking at this happy, healthy boy and thinking about the enormous change in him from when we first found him. When he climbs onto your knee, gazes up at you with adoring bright eyes and gently touches your face with his paw, your heart just melts!

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