The Regional Animal Protection Society is a registered charity that operates the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, the RAPS Adoption & Education Centre, a fostering network, social enterprise thrift stores and the full-service RAPS Animal Hospital.
The RAPS Cat Sanctuary was built in order to rescue and protect homeless and abandoned cats and kittens. It is now one of the largest cat sanctuaries in North America. The Sanctuary provides a safe permanent home to hundreds of feral, abandoned and surrendered cats. Our tame and feral felines cohabitate peacefully and contentedly. It is maintained by about 200 dedicated volunteers who continually create a loving, clean, comfortable and safe environment for our cats. Our cats’ health is monitored by a specialized team of veterinarians and animal care workers who handle and medicate both tame and feral cats. All the cats are treated at the RAPS Animal Hospital, one of the largest not-for-profit animal hospitals in Canada. RAPS believes that every life is a valuable life and spares no expense in ensuring that the cats receive high-quality care, including shelter, throughout their lifetimes.
The organization was founded in the 1980s, when local volunteers discovered an overwhelming number of feral cats in Richmond. These cats and kittens had not been spayed or neutered, had not received veterinary care or the basic necessities of life. They would have been euthanized if they were taken to any of the municipal shelters in the Metro Vancouver area.
A tiny group of deeply dedicated folks formed the Richmond Homeless Cats Society and this was the precursor to the Richmond Animal Protection Society. Richmond Homeless Cats was incorporated in 1995 and the small group spent the next several years providing homeless cats with food, shelter, vet care and – always – spaying and neutering. These volunteers tirelessly attended to over 40 feeding stations daily. Over 1,000 cats were fixed, which made a major contribution to reducing the feral overpopulation problem. Kittens and cats were adopted whenever possible and, because the Sanctuary did not yet exist, volunteers often fostered in their homes.
In 2005, the society’s name was changed to Richmond Animal Protection Society when the decision was made to extend care to all of Richmond’s animals. RAPS was awarded the City of Richmond Animal Shelter contract in 2007, and introduced a no-kill policy to the City Shelter. After lobbying by RAPS, Richmond became the first municipality to legally require spaying and neutering for cats, and to ban the sale of puppies and dogs in pet stores. RAPS continued to run the City Shelter until early 2021.
In 2017, the name was changed to the Regional Animal Protection Society, which better reflects the geographic diversity of the people and animals we serve. With more than a quarter-century of experience, RAPS has now set our sights on saving and improving the lives of more animals than ever before.
Our dream is of a community where no stray cats roam the streets, and where all animals are loved, respected and have lifelong homes.