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October 12, 2009

Meet the Gang: Update on the San Nicolas Island Cats

The Humane Society of the United States


  • Cooper is now a typical kitten—a playful purr monster. The HSUS.


  • When Ruby arrived she was thin, unthrifty, and scared. Now she's a beautiful, healthy cat. The HSUS.


  • Zeus He was one of the last cats to partake of the catnip. The HSUS.


  • Rocket went from hisser to kisser. The HSUS.

Sybil, Danny, Mario, Chelsea, and Nick are in good company and glad to be alive. They have found sanctuary at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif., with 48 of their closest friends, other feral cats who were to be euthanized on San Nicolas Island.

Animal technicians Kimberly D'Amico and Christine Jensen are the cats' "personal assistants," and have taken many of the cats from hissing and growling to purring and relaxing. Today, the cats have toys, reliable meals, special treats, and human kindness.

Home sweet home

On Sept. 23, 15 cats were introduced to their large new habitat, built thanks to the generosity of DoGreatGood.com.

The cats were placed in carriers and carefully moved from their temporary housing to their new habitat which includes another novelty not common on the dry island with sparse vegetation—trees!

Several 10-foot trees are carefully incorporated into the habitat in a way that allows the trees to continue growing but prevents the cats escape or the entry of other critters who could harm or be harmed by the cats.

"It was a very, very touching morning. Sybil was out first followed by Sandy and then Scar," said Christine Jensen, one of the cats' primary caretakers. Jensen and her colleagues were all very happy to see how the cats actually welcomed each other by rubbing on one another.

Donate to The HSUS' Feral Cat Program Fund to help the San Nicolas Island cats.

It didn't take long for Sandy to become the official greeter. She rubbed, licked, mewed and loved everyone as they exited their carriers. Scar was the first male to venture out. After saying hello to his female friends, he just rolled around, relaxed and enjoyed his new-found freedom.

Bob assisted Sandy as a greeter and although Sybil initially hissed at other cats, she did accept Zeus as her buddy.

Hamilton was the first to discover the tree. It was a great day for the cats, the wildlife center staff and companion animals staff at HSUS headquarters who, through videos, vicariously enjoyed the cats' introduction to their habitat.

Photos of the cats have been a big hit with headquarters staff who worked so hard to save the cats. Pictured are cats lounging in the trees or hiding among the rocks. As each day passes, the cats become more at ease in their new surroundings.

Meet a few of the cats

Cooper is now a typical kitten—a playful purr monster. Thanks to his young age, he was easily socialized and will be adopted into a loving home. (see photos of each cat in the slider above)

Zeus watched the other cats and their antics. He was one of the last cats to partake of the catnip. One whiff was all it took. He was belly-up, drooling, and chirping at the other cats.

When Ruby arrived she was thin, unthrifty, and scared. Now she's a beautiful, healthy cat who is calm and content with her new home. She is truly a jewel.

Rocket went from hisser to kisser. When Rocket arrived in Ramona, he wanted nothing to do with anyone. One evening when Kim gave him his food, Rocket allowed her to touch his soft fur and she heard his first purr.

How you can help

The cats removed from San Nicolas Island are out of harm's way and we will continue to rescue additional cats from the island.

If you would like to help us care for Grace and her friends, please make a secure donation online or send a check to The HSUS at 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 (write “San Nicolas Island Cat Program” in the check’s memo line), or call 202-452-1100.

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