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RAPS saves cats—no matter where

By Valerie Wilson

Published 3:11 PDT, Mon April 12, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

A man in Salmon Arm has been feeding feral cats at his workplace for many years. The work site is shutting down and he is concerned for their welfare, so he contacted the local animal shelter but they are at capacity and can’t help him save the cats’ lives. So he called RAPS.

Another rescue organization, called Sammy’s Forgotten Felines, based in Kamloops, is also at capacity and so when they were asked to take in a colony of ferals, they too called RAPS. A few days ago, I went up there myself and brought back seven cats from three feral colonies.

A quarter-century ago, RAPS was founded to ensure that cats would not face euthanasia merely because local shelters didn’t have the resources to take them in. We have always welcomed rescues from other jurisdictions—especially those where they face almost certain death—but we are redoubling our commitment across British Columbia now. 

While RAPS operated the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, that part of our operation was limited to serving animals in Richmond only. That made sense, of course. But now that we operate our own RAPS Adoption Centre, we have no geographic limitations at all.

Animals do not recognize human-created boundaries. We believe that where an animal lives should not determine whether an animal lives. You can surrender or adopt cats at RAPS.

Most animal rescue organizations are small, with limited capacity for caring for large numbers of cats for long periods. That’s one thing that makes the Regional Animal Protection Society different. We have a sprawling sanctuary in East Richmond that can accommodate hundreds and hundreds of cats. These are mostly animals deemed unlikely to be adopted. Many have behavioural issues that make them unlikely to find a family. Others have health issues like feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus or other common ailments that are chronic, but manageable. Most of these cats can live long and happy lives. But the simple fact is that, given the number of “healthy” kittens and cats available, the chance of these ones finding homes is minimal. 

It’s worth noting that statistics around the number of “healthy” animals euthanized annually would, in some jurisdictions, include many or most of the cats RAPS take in our sanctuary. Lots of rescue organizations declare that they do not euthanize “healthy” cats. RAPS does not euthanize “unhealthy” cats. We believe that RAPS’ “no-kill” commitment sets us apart from other animal rescue organizations. If these cats can live a happy life despite having some behavioural or medical issues, they are welcomed into our RAPS Cat Sanctuary and often live to very advanced ages.

Like any other charity, we have limited resources, but we are proactively working with rescues all over B.C.—and we will work with others outside the province as appropriate—to keep our no-kill promise, no matter where the cats live who need our help.

Valerie Wilson is assistant manager of the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.

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