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Update on Rescued Cats and Kittens

On March 31 and the first days of April, the Regional Animal Protection Society rescued dozens of cats and kittens from a situation in Richmond.

In all, 30 adult cats and 20 kittens have been rescued. As many as five cats are presumed pregnant, which will likely raise the number of rescued cats and kittens to more than 70. A week after the rescue, RAPS is providing an update to the public. (See below.)

The rescue comes at a challenging time as RAPS, like all charities, is struggling with the effects of the pandemic and social distancing. The RAPS Cat Sanctuary is closed to the public. The RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter is closed for all but emergency cases – such as this rescue operation – and staff are available by appointment for emergencies.RAPS Thrift Stores are closed, which adds to the financial strain on the organization. The RAPS Animal Hospital remains open with strenuous protocols in place to minimize human-to-human interactions.

“We estimate the veterinary services and other individualized care to all of these kittens and cats will average $1,000 per animal,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO and executive director of RAPS. “We are really calling on our community to help us at this time. Revenues are down just as demand rises.”

For 25 years, RAPS has been helping animals … and their people. This has been especially true since the organization opened the community-owned, not-for-profit RAPS Animal Hospital just over two years ago.

“Since then, we have provided $1.2 million in partially or fully subsidized care to animals in households with low incomes or facing other challenges,” says Lichtmann. Also unique is RAPS Animal Hospital’s No-interest Wellness Payment Plan. “We believe no one should be forced to make life-and-death decisions for their pets based on ability to pay.”

UPDATE ON HEALTH OF RESCUED KITTENS AND CATS

  • In all, there are 50 cats – including 30 “adults” ranging from four months to three or four years old, and three litters totaling 20 kittens, ranging from a few days to a few weeks old. There are also five cats that are presumed pregnant, which will increase the total number substantially.
  • All the animals have been, or in the coming days will be, examined and treated by veterinarians and staff at the RAPS Animal Hospital.
  • Overall, the cats and kittens are in good health. Of the three litters of kittens, two litters were afflicted with eye infections, which are being treated and the kittens are responding well.
  • Almost all the cats and kittens were infested with fleas. The adults have been treated with medications while the kittens, which are too young for medications were bathed and the fleas manually removed. In some cases, 40 or more fleas were picked off a single kitten. Kittens also receive some benefit from their mothers’ medications through nursing.
  • The litters are all in foster homes. The youngest litter, who arrived at the age of about three days, were fostered immediately. The two other, slightly older litters were kept at the RAPS Animal Shelter until they could be examined and have now also been fostered. Two of the litters are “mixed” litters, suggesting that a mother is raising her own litter plus one or more kittens possibly abandoned by another cat. For example: Batman, part of the “B” litter, who are being fostered at the home RAPS’ CEO, is being raised by Ellie, though she may not be his birth mother. Estimated to be four-and-a-half to five weeks old, while his littermates are about two weeks old, Batman nevertheless plays well with his siblings and shows a lot of character.
  • SNAP tests, which detect feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), have so far all come back negative. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply and transportation issues, the RAPS Animal Hospital has had to wait for some backordered tests and so not all cats have been tested.
  • Adult cats are being altered, with the males being neutered first, as it is a less invasive procedure. Females that are not pregnant will be spayed in the coming weeks.

“The adults who have been altered will be observed for a week or more while they heal and we get to know their personalities,” says Shelter manager Shena Novotny. “Then we will start posting them for adoption.”

Kittens are generally adopted at eight to 10 weeks of age.

“They are pretty shy, a little skittish,” she says. “They’re all very sweet, though. None of them are lashing out. It looks like they will all adjust well.”

Adoption applications are online at rapsbc.com/adopt.

If you can afford to help us care for these animals, now is the time. Please visit rapsbc.com/donations.