VIOLET was the most seriously abused of the 12 cats brought in in 2014 none of which had been socialised or neutered. She cowered behind her bed, refusing all human contact - hence her name ("shrinking”) Violet !!)
The construction of the first enclosure was completed in 2016 and Violet, along with Cassie and Joules were the first residents. We put them in their cosy cat cabins and went outside and waited with bated breath ! It wasn’t long before they came out led by Violet ! They went round the perimeter of the enclosure sniffing every nook and cranny – and then they went round again. Next they jumped up on the shelf watching the polo ponies in the field next door and then looking at the fields and woods, their first taste of freedom.
It is no exaggeration to say it changed her life. She is a real outdoor girl staying out in all but the worst weather.
In December 2018 she was featured in the Maidenhead Advertiser to draw attention to the change of direction CLAWS had taken due to the influx of cats in 2014 requiring special care as they were infirm elderly or had been abused.
In 2014 we erected the Golden Oldies Home and constructed its garden. When a vacancy occurred she and Joules were transferred there even though they are not golden oldies !! She (and Joules) now come to the fence and jump for joy when they sees their breakfast coming and run to the fence to receive a gentle stroke especially when they hear the crackle of the treats packet.
She is still shy and keeps her distance a lot of the time but there is one carer who is able to approach her and when she is feeling very brave takes treats from her hand.
What was that noise ? We spotted Violet with something in her mouth shaking it vigorously. It was a mouse – but one knitted by a volunteer and stuffed with catnip ! She and Joules have also become competent hunters and we are sometimes given a present (vole or mouse !).
As the years have gone by she and Joules have become the only occupants of the Golden Oldies Home. We have on one or two occasions introduced another cat but this was met with outrage – "You don’t expect us to accept another cat do you "? And so they remain its sole occupants and have become affectionately known as the Chalet Girls.
It is so rewarding to see this badly damaged cat come into her own.