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Three troubled cats

A trio that came to RAPS from Vancouver Island are examples of the sorts of challenges faced by many of the animals we care for – and why our no-kill promise means happy endings!

RAPS is fortunate to have the capacity to welcome animals from partner agencies that cannot accommodate them. Because we have a cat sanctuary, a shelter and a veterinary hospital, we are able to help animals – no matter how long it takes – who are simply too much for other organizations to handle. These three stories of cats who recently came to use from a rescue group on Vancouver Island will give you hint of what we mean …

A Mighty challenge

Mighty has a complicated story. His person had to go to the hospital and so Mighty went to stay with his person’s mom. While there, there was a domestic dispute and Mighty attacked the man who was assaulting his “grandmother.” In retaliation, the man attacked Mighty, who was then surrendered to one of our partner agencies on Vancouver Island. Authorities were notified of the incident and, while human service providers are assisting the human victim, we are here to help Mighty.

That trauma has understandably affected Mighty. He has been in four foster homes and, for a time, everything seems fine. He seems calm, happy and non-aggressive. Then, in each case, seemingly out of nowhere, he has attacked a person in the home (usually a man).

Knowing that we have expertise in behavioural issues and a team of volunteers who help socialize troubled animals, our friends on the island asked if we would accept Mighty. Chances are good that we can rebuild his trust in humans and find him a forever home. But, if we can’t, he will live – like hundreds of other cats – in our “Kitty Club Med” at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

Missy struggles to overcome abuse

Also coming to us from the island is Missy. Like Mighty, she was also abused, but seemingly for a more prolonged period. Missy’s original person got her as a kitten but, since the roommates in the situation would not permit a cat, the person kept Missy in his room, sometimes in a dresser drawer and apparently other times in a box. When Missy would make noises or bother the person, he would kick the box she was in. Eventually, a friend of one of the roommates saw what was going on, seized Missy and asked her mother to care for her. Despite the woman’s best efforts, Missy’s trauma could not be overcome and she would attack the woman, at one point even sending her to hospital. Finally, the woman admitted defeat and surrendered Missy.

Missy has come leaps and bounds to the point where people are now able to touch her, pet her and pick her up – which is a huge step forward. She no longer attacks everyone that comes near her and she plays with toys and hangs out with other cats. Still, she seems to have a switch that occasionally turns on and she lashes out unexpectedly. We will continue to devote efforts to making Missy the best kitty she can be. She may get to the point where she is ready for a family home. But, if not, she too will be welcomed at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, where she will receive all the love, care and affection she desires.

Timber the Tasmanian devil

The third member of the Vancouver Island trio is Timber. Her story is less traumatic and more common – similar to so many stories of our Sanctuary cats. She was found roaming free near a highway and was difficult to trap. She’s an older cat – more than 13, we think – and pretty set in her ways. When finally trapped, she was somewhat underweight but in surprisingly good condition. Her coat was healthy and not terribly matted.

She seems like a perfect princess … she is a good eater, always uses the litter box, uses her scratching post and loves attention. But she had a secret side. Perhaps because she was used to be on her own and outdoors, she seemed fine at the shelter, but when a volunteer offered to take her home, Timber went a bit crazy. Suddenly she refused to use the litter box, started yowling at all hours and did her best to destroy anything standing between her and the great outdoors – window sills, walls, curtains, blinds, doors.

Returned to the shelter, Timber turned back into her old wonderful self. So she was placed again with an experienced foster family … and it happened again. Scratching furniture, climbing walls, attacking windows. The fosterer called her a “Tasmanian devil” and regrettably returned her.

YOU decide their fate

These are three stories of the literally thousands of animals that RAPS has taken in over the decades. Every story is different – as is every ending.

What makes these three stories different is that RAPS is a no-kill animal-serving organization. We invest whatever time and resources are required to let every animal live their best life. We will immerse these three in the individualized care they need to overcome their respective traumas and, no matter how long that takes, we will determine whether they can be adopted by a forever family or move into the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

Our goal now is to create a RAPS Dog Sanctuary, which will be a centre for excellence in rehabilitation and socialization. Dogs and cats are different, of course, and dogs almost always fare better in a human home. So the Dog Sanctuary will invest all the time, training and individualized treatment to prepare each animal for the next phase of their lives. (Until now, we have done this in the context of foster homes.)

All of this is possible because we have the support of animal allies like you!

You can give happy endings to so many stories by adopting a resident of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary or making a monthly contribution to RAPS so that we have the dependable funding to ensure that animals like Mighty, Missy and Timber are cared for … forever.

“Timber” photo by Karen Nicholson