Cat Sanctuary


Long-time volunteer Stephanie is no longer able to give the time she once committed to working hours at the Sanctuary, but those hours (and more) are still devoted to rescuing cats. Armed with a car full of traps, tasty bait food and other cat-appealing things, she waits patiently at various sites, hoping that a stray cat reported to RAPS may venture into her trap and come to experience the love shown to so many of our Sanctuary cats. Most of her sites are away from human homes: recycling centers, warehouses and the like, as well as the occasional lost cat reported to us. Comet was different. Comet was spotted last December near a Richmond veterinary office, with houses all around. It was on a main road, so there was some concern for her safety, especially as it was suspected that she was pregnant. Regular traps were ignored (or occupied by the occasional raccoon), but gradually hunger got the better of her and the tuna plate was moved further and further into the trap.

Comet at trap – SR

Finally – success! – as a very annoyed little cat ventured too close and the trap door was sprung. Yes, indeed, she was pregnant – and so was packed off into the hands of Kati, one of our most experienced foster-moms.

Carol & Stephanie have Comet safe at last

Comet was a real spitfire. Cleaning her cage was a tough job, and she managed to bite Kati through thick gloves. Kati was already caring for Parker (also trapped by Stephanie) who calmly gave birth to a litter of seven kittens just before Christmas.

Comet’s “roomie” Parker with her kittens – KD

On New Year’s Eve Comet’s labour started and it became apparent that there were problems. With her second kitten stuck in the birth canal, a C-section was called for, and the third and fourth were safely delivered. Comet was not a happy mom, and refused to nurse any but the first natural-born kitten; the second had died at birthing, and Kati was left to save the two remaining mites.

Once the two littles were well on the way, Kati decided she might as well feed all three, and Comet was brought to the Sanctuary. The kittens continued in foster, and then went for adoption.

Uno & Uri Uno, now Mortimer (Morty) at 3 months

In her Sanctuary cage, Comet had a grudge against the world. She hated the people who came to feed her; she hated the cats who passed by – even though she couldn’t see them.  For a while, we thought we might have another Jingles on our hands.

Comet behind her drape – PH

But our med staff are the best, and gradually she got used to human contact – though for a while it was contact via a back-scratcher instead of a hand.  Then the cage door was opened and Comet was allowed (under supervision) to venture out, and to deal with the occasional feline visitor. Gradually she blossomed – she started accepting petting from volunteers, and even allowed herself to be picked up.

Allowing herself to be held by Lenaia! – PH

She’s not yet very sociable with other cats, but she’s made great strides from the angry feline who arrived in December.

We think it’s likely she was someone’s cat, and either escaped or was dumped – the fact that she was found near the veterinary office is, after all, a little suspicious.  She, and all her kittens, would certainly have died if Stephanie hadn’t been so determined to rescue her, and if Kati hadn’t had the knowledge and experience to get her through birthing. Instead of which, three handsome kittens have good homes, and Comet has a place where she will be loved and cared for. Way to go, ladies!

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Kati Degraaf, Phaedra Hardman, Stephanie Ross, Michele Wright