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The incredible but true story of two tenacious cats

Lisa Parker   Feb-19-2019

Pops, left, and Jack have come a long way. From California in fact.

Photo submitted


Jack Sparrow is a one-year-old black cat with one eye and a missing hip socket. His dad, Pops, who is five, has feline immunodeficiency virus and deformed rear legs. Despite their challenges, they’ve come a long, long way—literally.

The pair were seized by California animal control officials in California in January 2018 from a breeder who was apparently attempting to create a new “specialty” breed of small cat, but in the process developed a number of animals with severe physical issues. Along with them were Jack’s brother and mother.

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Pops was kept in a cage for the first years of his life, allowed out only to breed.

Once they were placed in a California shelter, they faced euthanasia due to their obvious disabilities, but were saved and brought to B.C., where Jack, Pops along with Jack’s brother who is also disabled, lived in foster care for the past year. The brother was adopted by the foster family and, though Jack and Pops were also up for adoption during that year, they had no luck finding a forever home. They now happily reside at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, eagerly soaking up the affection and care of staff and volunteers.

Dad and son are deeply bonded, very sweet with people and other cats and also very active.

The tale of Jack Sparrow and Pops is a story in microcosm of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

Among the nearly 500 cats who live here are many who would have been euthanized in other jurisdictions. That’s one of the reasons RAPS changed its name from the Richmond Animal Protection Society to the Regional Animal Protection Society. All our operations are located in Richmond, but we believe that where an animal lives shouldn’t determine whether an animal lives.

In most cases, of course, cats come to us from Richmond, throughout Metro Vancouver or from other centres in British Columbia. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for animals to come to us from as far away as California if the alternative is euthanasia.

Our organization has become synonymous in the animal-loving community with a no-kill commitment: Under our care, no animal is ever euthanized due to lack of space, treatable illness, physical defect, age, rectifiable behavioural or socialization issues.

Keeping this promise led us to open the RAPS Animal Hospital a year ago this month—on Family Day in 2018—making it more affordable for us to provide veterinary care to the residents of the Sanctuary, the animals who come to the RAPS-run City of Richmond Animal Shelter. The hospital is also for the public to bring their animals in for veterinary care, revenue from which is reinvested into RAPS programs, including the Sanctuary.

All of this has been possible because of the support of people in the community who share our commitment to saving and improving the lives of animals.

One of the most effective ways of helping the Sanctuary is to sponsor one of our feline residents. For $25 a month—less than a coffee a day—you can enable us to keep our promise to all the animals in our care, providing a safe place to live and the necessary medical care they need and deserve.

For more information, call 604-242-1661 or click.

Lisa Parker is manager of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.


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