On March 31 and April 1, RAPS rescued 20 kittens and 27 adult cats, three of them pregnant, from a situation in Richmond in which a well-intentioned individual was feeding stray cats but the numbers grew to unmanageable levels. The numbers fluctuate as more cats are identified and humanely trapped at the site.
“We were alerted to the situation by a family member and the individual in the home agreed that, in the best interests of the animals, they would be surrendered to RAPS,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO and executive director of RAPS. “It seems a good samaritan was feeding a colony of cats, and that the colony continued to grow to an unmanageable number.”
RAPS began 25 years with a small group of dedicated volunteers trapping and spaying or neutering feral cats. As a result, Richmond has effectively no feral cats, while, by comparison, Surrey is estimated to have tens of thousands. This rescue operation reminds RAPS staff and volunteers of the core mission of the organization and the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce feral populations.
All the animals will have a preliminary examination by a RAPS Animal Hospital veterinarian. They have a variety of health issues that will need to be addressed. Some of the kittens have eye infections that are being treated. Most of the cats and kittens were flea-infested. Three of the cats appear to be pregnant, so anticipating an average of five kittens each, this would increase the numbers in this rescue group to more than 60.
Most of the cats and, at the appropriate age, the kittens, will be vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Many will require a variety of medical procedures such as X-rays, full diagnostic lab tests, screening procedures, SNAP tests to determine conditions such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and leukemia, as well as any other symptoms that might be in evidence. Some adult cats will likely require dental or other procedures.
Eight, three-day-old kittens and their mom have been placed in a secure foster home. Twelve other kittens, estimated to be around four to six weeks old, will likely also be fostered until they are eight to 10 weeks old and ready for their forever homes. Some obvious treatments and procedures are required and additional medical conditions may be identified as the cats are observed more closely and further tests are completed.
After their health is assured, the cats will be settled into the RAPS Animal Shelter and/or in foster homes, as appropriate. Adoptions will be considered on an individual basis as the cats and kittens are assessed. The cats that are not adopted will transition to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, Canada’s largest, where there are already more than 400 cats living a wonderful life.
This is how RAPS is able to keep its no-kill promise.
“These cats and kittens will receive the individualized care and attention that RAPS staff and volunteers deliver to all our animals,” says Lichtmann. “This is possible because of the community of supporters that make possible everything we do. This does come at a moment of great challenge, however, as our resources are stretched due to social distancing. At this point, barring any extraordinary health issues, we anticipate that the medical care for the cats, including housing and feeding them and seeing them through this transition will probably average $1,000 per animal. So we are setting up a special fund to ask the public for help in ensuring these animals transition well and eventually find their forever homes.”
Like many charities, RAPS is feeling the effects of the pandemic. The RAPS Thrift Stores are closed, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary and Shelter are closed to the public and services at the RAPS Animal Hospital are ongoing with limited human interaction. The organization is calling on the public for support at this time to help these newly rescued cats as well as to ensure continued care for all our animals at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, the RAPS Animal Shelter, our vast fostering network and our services to animals and people in the community.
“RAPS is able to provide exceptional health care to the animals because we have one of Canada’s largest, fully equipped not-for-profit RAPS Animal Hospital, which services the public and animals in RAPS’ care,” says Lichtmann.
Follow RAPS on social media to follow the progress of these cats!
Donations are gratefully welcomed at rapsbc.com/donations.