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Big improvements at RAPS Cat Sanctuary

The RAPS Cat Sanctuary, Canada’s largest cat sanctuary, is undergoing some exciting upgrades and improvements.

The RAPS Cat Sanctuary was built to provide a home for rescued, homeless and abandoned cats and kittens. It is now one of the largest cat sanctuaries in North America. The Sanctuary provides a safe, permanent home to hundreds of feral, abandoned and surrendered cats. Our tame and feral felines cohabitate peacefully and contentedly. It is maintained by about 200 dedicated volunteers who continually create a loving, clean, comfortable and safe environment for our cats. Our cats’ health is monitored by a specialized team of veterinarians and animal care workers who handle, medicate and otherwise provide care to both tame and feral cats. All the cats are treated at the RAPS Animal Hospital, one of the largest not-for-profit animal hospitals in Canada that services the public and all of RAPS’ animals. RAPS believes that every life is a valuable life and spares no expense in ensuring that the cats receive high-quality care throughout their lifetimes.

A range of expensive, but necessary, cosmetic and infrastructural upgrades have been underway this past spring and summer.

As part of the enhancements, we are improving the quality of life for the cats, as well as safety and accessibility for people, ensuring a more pleasant and safe experience for the thousands of people who benefit from animal interactions every year because of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary. We are also undertaking important and necessary upgrades to utilities, structures and equipment.

We have installed a new, larger-capacity water heater; improved or replaced the roofs, foundations, floor structures and porches on all eight cat houses; repaired or replaced fencing and gates that were compromised by tree growth; improved roof structure over the backyard area to make it more accessible in inclement weather; upgraded two kennel areas; and replaced approximately 200 linear feet of decades-old garden planters that were suffering from root rot and tree root damage; upgraded the electrical system; improved plumbing and watering systems; and installed play areas.

We also have recently completed a significant Visitor Experience Project, in which the parking area, entrances and exits, walking paths and other public areas have been improved and made more accessible for people of all abilities. In addition, with advice from Tourism Richmond, we have created interpretive signage throughout the Sanctuary to enhance the experience of visitors to the site.

This project also includes:

Improved protections for visitors in the event of inclement weather;

More frequent, standardized tours for visitors;

Structural improvements to the buildings, egresses/ingresses, walkways and other facilities to enhance safety for visitors and residents, and reduce potential hazards;

Enhanced online, face-to-face and hard copy communications to support learning and emphasizing physical and emotional benefits for visitors;

Improved signage to make access to the facility clearer;

Reorganization of parking area to maximize access, convenience and safety for visitors.

This component of the project was made possible in part from the support of the Richmond Community Foundation and the Aviva Community Fund. Thanks to a grassroots movement of cat-loving people from across Canada who voted for our project last year, we received a $10,000 grant from Aviva for this important project. And the irreplaceable support of the Richmond Community Foundation has made these important renovations possible.

In addition, thanks to two other recently received grants, we are on our way to completing even more fundamental, infrastructural upgrades to the facilities.

With the support of the Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation and another foundation that prefers to remain anonymous, each of which contributed $15,000 to the project, we are able to move ahead on components that we really want to get completed before winter!

But the upgrades are more extensive. We are still fundraising for a total of $250,000 in upgrades. When this campaign is achieved and the improvements completed, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary will be the gold standard in the world for cat sanctuaries.

Improvements remaining to be funded and completed include:

  • Upgrading the Sanctuary to natural gas (accessible at the road) to allow more efficient and effective heating, laundry and other necessities.
  • The provision of industrial washers and dryers to replace inadequate domestic units currently in use.
  • New trailers to replace and complement existing dated structures.
  • Upgrading electrical capacity and quality.
  • New cat pens with appropriate gating.
  • New storage containers for food, litter and other needs.
  • A delivery and transport truck.

Your support makes everything we do possible. If you would like to support the Cat Sanctuary upgrade project, please contact jonathan@rapsbc.com.

Photos: Michele Wright, Furry Friends Photography