RAPS Seeks Public Help
Urgent Rescue Underway – But Well-intentioned People are Endangering the Animals
RAPS is calling on the community to help in an urgent rescue operation – and is asking the public to do what is best for the animals.
RAPS is humanely trapping a colony of feral or semi-feral cats in an industrial area of Shell Road in Richmond. But well-intentioned employees of a neighbouring company are interfering – which is endangering the cats.
“Three adults and one kitten have already been brought to the safety of RAPS facilities,” says Valerie Wilson, assistant manager of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary. “But at least five other cats are still at large and one is in a very dangerous situation. A tabby on the site has what appears from a distance to be a rope wrapped around his or her neck and shoulder. That cat especially needs to be rescued as soon as possible or the consequences could be fatal.” Animals who are stuck with things tied around them like this for a long period of time can suffer from deep lacerations which can lead to infection and possibly long-term nerve damage. There is even the potential of a needed amputation if it stays on too long.
The only safe situation is for all these cats to be trapped, spayed or neutered and cared for at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, where they will receive all the care and attention they need.
“These cats have clearly been part of what we call a semi-managed or even poorly managed colony,” says Wilson. “This means that people have been feeding the animals, but not providing the healthcare and safe housing that they need. There has clearly been breeding – but the population is not growing. That means the animals are likely being killed, either by vehicles or by the many predators around, including coyotes, raccoons or birds of prey.”
“We need to get these animals to safety,” she says. “But someone has been tampering with the traps.” Our trappers have witnessed employees of a local company trying to distract the cats from going into the traps. Then, when we move the traps to a different, nearby location, someone is moving them, removing the food, or closing them up before a cat goes in them.
RAPS is urging everyone to understand that it is in the best interest of the animals to come into our care. It is absolutely dire that we get that tabby before he suffers any longer with that rope around his neck.
One of the four cats that have been rescued so far – Brando, who is about 6 or 7 months old, came in with a large wound across his head and he was suffering from several missing and torn nails.
“It looked like he had been skinned” Wilson says. “Missing and torn nails are often a sign of being hit by a car or suffering a great fall, so we were really concerned about him when we got him in the trap. Our RAPS doctors gave him a full work-up and thankfully he didn’t suffer from any major injuries”
With some TLC, he has come to trust humans and his head is healing up well, although there may be a scar remaining.
We have also trapped a 2-year-old male we’ve named Boston (possibly the dad in the group), and a 1-year-old female named Bianca (maybe the mom) who are both tuxedos. Boston is showing the scars and scratches typical of an unneutered male living life on the streets.
The fourth cat, a very young, all-black kitten named Empanada, is currently in foster care being socialized, but has been at the hospital due to suffering from severe diarrhea. In a kitten as young as Empanada, diarrhea can be fatal.
At the appropriate time, all will be SNAP tested (for FIV and FeLV), spayed or neutered, vaccinated and given any and all care they need.
“The older a cat is when it is trapped, in most cases, the harder it is to become socialized enough to live with a family,” she says. “But there are exceptions. Already, Brando, who came to us completely feral is now coming out of his shell and enjoys some attention but is still a little bit shy.” We are sure that once he has completely healed, he will be able to be adopted into a good home.
Boston and Bianca are two cats who are not likely to be able to be adopted, so will live forever at the “Kitty Club Med” of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary. Cost of care, $360 per cat per month, adds up to thousands of dollars for the life of each cat.
In either case, RAPS is depending on our community to come through with the financial resources to help us provide these animals with the immediate and long-term care they require.
In addition to raising awareness of the importance of trapping these animals – and encouraging people to leave traps alone if they find them – we are asking for financial support to complete this rescue operation and give these cats the help they need.
Lifetime care of these cats will cost upwards of $40,000 to care for these cats and we are asking the public to help us with at least $10,000 of the costs.