There can be no doubt that TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) is the best way to deal with a feral cat problem, and that was the solution brought to bear on Richmond’s feral cats, beginning some 20 years ago. Carol Reichert master-minded the trapping of strays, and the establishment and care of the resulting cat-colonies, and a dedicated group of volunteers assisted her. But 20 years ago Richmond was just seeing the beginning of the development boom, and many places where cats were trapped became places it was no longer safe to release them. Hence the development of the Sanctuary as a safe place to bring cats that no longer had any safety to which they could be returned.
At its peak the Sanctuary housed almost 900 cats, many of whom had lived feral until brought in. Feral cats tend not to have long life-spans – apart from the risks of traffic, coyotes, raccoons and other predators, the lack of consistent nutrition can stunt growth, or set up conditions for later problems.
At the Sanctuary the cats can find daily food and shelter, and be treated for health problems. Cats with feline AIDS or feline leukemia can be isolated from the general population for their own health, and we have occasionally accepted leukemia-positive cats from other shelters that do not have the ability to give them this protection.
But a start in feral life-style is not always good for health, and despite the best care we can offer, we lose cats to ailments like kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions and so on. As a no-kill shelter, we make their lives as pain-free and loving as we can, and when life becomes a burden we go with them to let them go gently and with love.
Adoptions and attrition have reduced the numbers, but the costs remain high. The Thrift Store covers staff costs but vet bills are constant. Aging cats require dental care, medications, occasionally surgery and the food and cat litter aren’t cheap! In order to keep the place in good condition, we go through a lot of cleaning supplies as well. More than a few of our cats have been surrendered to RAPS for their bathroom habits, and we do a lot of mopping-up!
We know there are a lot of Cat Sanctuary supporters out there, many of whom are already financially generous. But the more we can spread the load, the easier it is on everyone.
Pass the word, please:
• Any donation to RAPS marked “for the Cat Sanctuary” will make a difference. It might be just because you feel like it, or it might be a gift given in memory of a beloved friend – human or feline
• Sponsor a cat – for just $15 a month your donation will help to feed one of our furry friends. You can choose the cat you sponsor, or ask the coordinator to do it for you – you receive a certificate of sponsorship with a photo of your cat. Perhaps a gift for the person who has everything else…
• Check the Support Us page at the main website – for ideas such as donating shopping or gas points, or perhaps your Canadian Tire money
• Bring some donations in kind
– Fancy Feast is often used for medications, as is chicken and people-tuna (in water); speciality foods for specific diets
– Cleaning materials, first-aid, laundry supplies, etc
• Consider volunteering – either on a regular weekly basis, or as a fill-in volunteer – for a morning cleaning shift or an afternoon feeding one
• Come join us at a fund-raising event: the upcoming one is the Paws and Pumpkins Halloween Gala on October 31
You will be repaid in purrs and snuggles!…