A Tale of Two Kitties
Stephanie Ross is one of RAPS’ most dedicated and tenacious volunteers. Recently, she humanely trapped two brothers – unaltered adolescent cats – who were discovered living in a construction site in northeast Richmond.
Thanks to Stephanie’s love and patience, the boys are now safe and contented at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter. Their bellies are purringly full, their needs for human affection are being generously met, their flea infestations have been treated and they have received their vaccinations. In other words, life is looking pretty bright for the two boys who were living a pretty miserable existence in rainy Richmond just a few short days ago.
The humans of RAPS want you to know two very important things about this story.
First, a volunteer like Stephanie is just one person. But the extraordinary dedication she devotes to saving the lives of cats in our community has changed the world for at least 50 cats over the more than a decade-and-a-half of volunteering.
She started as a volunteer at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, where she cleaned, scooped litter, trained new volunteers and ran tours for visitors. Stephanie soon became adept at trapping feral and abandoned cats throughout Richmond. This is no small skill. The objects of our trapping efforts don’t know that their lives are going to change for the better as soon as we get them inside one of our facilities. They are often wild, wily and dexterous at avoiding our entreaties. But Stephanie learning all the tricks and nuances from highly experienced RAPS staff and volunteers who have been honing their skills for more than two decades now. (We’re getting pretty good at this!)
Stephanie’s career as an adept cat trapper has seen her rescue more than 50 cats, many kittens, pregnant mama cats and unneutered males. Thanks to her stealth trapping skills, the feral cats Stephanie has trapped have left their dangerous days on the streets behind to be surrounded by love and warmth of forever homes or the “kitty Club Med” of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary. Pregnant mama cats have had their kittens in loving volunteer foster homes and have been adopted into forever homes through the RAPS City Animal Shelter. Stephanie continues to rescue Richmond’s stray cats and lovingly makes comfy fleece blankets for the RAPS cats at the Sanctuary and the City Animal Shelter, as well as for fundraising purposes. We can’t thank Stephanie enough for her years of devotion to the furry felines of RAPS.
In addition to the power of one individual to change the lives of cats and kittens, there is another factor to this story.
We suspect these two boys were abandoned by the people who moved out of an adjacent house that is slated for demolition to make room for new condos. Of course, no person should
ever abandon a companion animal. We need to continue making that case to every individual who takes responsibility for a pet. But there’s another case we need to make collectively.
While governments at all levels in recent days are addressing the issue of housing, it is important to keep telling our elected officials that legislating the right to housing for families that include companion animals is the humane thing to do. The unavailability of rental and strata housing that permits companion animals is the Number One reason people surrender their pets to RAPS. (Remember: we will always accept animals in such situations, living or abandoned in Richmond. We are a no-kill organization, which means that, unlike most other jurisdictions in B.C., the animal will find a lifetime of care, whether in a forever home, a foster home or at our Sanctuary. There is never an excuse for abandonment.)
However, we need to keep pressing our governments to make developers, strata committees, rental agencies and landlords respect the rights of families that include companion animals.
Together – with the kind of dedicated volunteerism exemplified by Stephanie and the advocacy for animals that is an important part of RAPS’ mission – we will make life better, safer and happier for the animals and people of our community.
Giving Tuesday is coming up. It’s a great time to pledge to volunteer, donate, fundraise, or spread the word about RAPS. Maybe trapping kittens and cats on dark, cold, rainy nights isn’t your cup of tea. But while Stephanie and other amazing volunteers do that work, your donation of $20 or $100 can help RAPS perform small miracles on small budgets. To donate, please follow the link here.