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Whirlwind week for 43 Alberta cats

It’s been a whirlwind week for the 43 cats we brought from Calgary last weekend!

Our amazing partner agency, Canadian Animal Task Force, undertook one of largest rescue operations ever – and so called on allies as far flung as RAPS to take in some of the animals. Our team members drove for hours last weekend and returned with 43 Alberta cats, including three mamas and 11 kittens.

Despite their origins as mostly feral cats, we are hopeful that most of them will be able to socialize and be adopted into family homes. Those who do not seem inclined to be house cats will move into our “Kitty Club Med,” the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.


Veterinarians at the RAPS Animal Hospital were on hand well after dark to treat the cats when they arrived. Most are in surprisingly good health.

One of the kittens, named Elfie, might have glaucoma, a result of unhealthy living conditions and possibly bacteria getting in the eye. We are medicating the eye and hope that the problem resolves, but she may have to have the eye removed. However, the problem is thankfully in one eye only. Her mama, Etta, and siblings Ellie and Edison, are all healthy. Edison is the spunkiest, kookiest and most entertaining of the kittens, who we estimate to be about five weeks old!

Another mom, named Farrah, has four kittens who are about three weeks old – Falafel, Faith, Frankie and Freckles. Falafel arrived with an injured back leg. It appears he may have had something tightly wound around a foot. The injury is being treated with antibiotics and we hope he will make a full recovery. But, in the meantime, he’s perfectly happy, eating to his heart’s content and is able to walk with little or no difficulty.

The other litter, from mama Dior, includes Demi, Diablo, Dickens and Dijon. (Guess from the names what colour each kitty is!) We guess they are about four-and-a-half weeks old.

We were warned that all three mama cats were pretty feral. But, we have delighted to discover that two of the three have made a 180! Incredibly, Etta has decided she wants to be a lap cat – even after all she has been through. Likewise, Farrah is really outgoing and super lovey. Dior isn’t too sure about us yet. She’s also maybe having a challenge producing milk, so Kati, our kitten fosterer extraordinaire, is hand feeding the kittens. We suspect Dior will warm up to us as she comes to understand that we’re pretty awesome bipeds.

It will take a little while to gauge the personality and level of socialization among the adult and adolescent cats we brought in. Some are already coming around and latching onto humans. Others will definitely take more time.

We named a few of them after cities and towns en route between Calgary and Richmond. There’s Airdrie, Baker, Banff, Creston, Fernie, Galloway, Golden, Meadows, Ozada, Phoenix and Sparwood.

Airdrie and Fernie are these petite little domestic medium-hair female cats who are so sweet it’s ridiculous! They act a little nervous at first but turn into cuddle machines at the slightest opportunity. Airdrie will shoot out of the cage and climb into a lap, head-butt all over the human’s face. She loves giving kisses.

As each animal is assessed and given any veterinary care they require, they will be put up for adoption, if appropriate. Some will probably be ready for their forever homes as early as next week!

It’s too early to say how many will not be adoptable. They’ve only had been with us for a week and they went through quite a bit – a very long car ride from another province and then getting adjusted to very different surroundings and the presence of lots of humans. We’re working with them and will soon have a better idea of how adoptable they will be. But we’re hoping that most will find families.

However, those who have personality or physical challenges that make them unadoptable have certainly come to the right place! The RAPS Cat Sanctuary was founded more than two decades ago specifically so that cats who, for whatever reason, cannot be homed, will not face euthanasia.

These 43 cats – and the thousands of animals whose lives we have saved and improved over the decades – live their best lives because RAPS has the support of animal allies in the community who make possible everything we do. This latest Alberta entourage represent a major cost to our organization and so we are calling on our friends to step up and help us cover the expenses for these and all the animals we serve.