Cat Sanctuary

All the Colours of Love

For many years, the tradition at the Cat Sanctuary was for a summer social event for staff, volunteers and cats – a pot-luck supper in the back courtyard, with the inevitable fending-off of feline assistance. A core feature of these occasions was to mark the Day of Chance. Chance was a battered feral who was introduced by blogger Claire Fossey as “a bit of a furry disaster” – not a beautiful boy, but rather like Jerry who was blogged last week, friendly and approachable, a cat who had a second chance (maybe considerably more than that) when he came to the Sanctuary.

The always-photogenic Samantha (MW)

Feral Ruff became a real pussy-cat (KN)

At our summer socials we listed the names of the cats who had passed in the last year, and read the legend of the Rainbow Bridge, and shared memories and tears and laughter.  And then COVID hit and RAPS social events were cancelled. Along with the rest of the world, we moved online, and our memories transferred to Facebook and Instagram and to the RAPS webpages. And inevitably, it was not just the cats we’d recently lost that we’d remember, as the blog archives reminded us of cats who were memorable for many different reasons.

So this year, rather than sharing just the cats who’ve passed in the last year – Lincoln, Tugboat and Bossanova have all been featured already in the blog, and Karen and Mike have offered a wonderful photo-montage on the RAPS website – I want to memorialize some of the cats from further back – cats who were loved by staff and volunteers, and who are still remembered in passing comments. If you didn’t know them, please take a moment to investigate the archives and make their acquaintance. Many of these cats came to us as local ferals, in the days when we rarely adopted semi-ferals out; some came to us in family groups, and others as singles; most lived their days out with us, surrounded by much love.

Shy Merilee, with her amputated tail (MW)

In the Front Courtyard my strongest memories are around one-eyed Val and her family. Val was a tubby little tabby, trapped with the assistance of Port Authority VP Val Jones, whose bequest funded the Val Jones corner. Feline Val came to us with five offspring: Silverfox (known as Foxy), Savannah, Paulo, Latte and Fury. All five were wonderful personalities, cat-social and mostly people-social (though Paolo was very shy and Latte was a diva!). I had a particularly soft spot for our orange boys: pick-me-up Tigger, shy Gilbert, and our furry Sedins – beautiful Henrik and Daniel.

SW Garfield and Diamond were devoted to each other (DW)

In the SingleWide, nobody who knew them can forget the Dryer Gang. Led by Simone, Bantam and Chickadee, who all came to us from a local egg-farm, they took up residence on lid of the dryer by the door, and enjoyed its warmth and vibrations. They were joined by various other cats – Little MamaJenny and several others – and were always glad to claim greetings from visitors to the building.

Another devoted SW pair – Creamsicle & Babylon (TV)

It’s hard, with the leukemia cats, because their life-spans tend to be much shorter than those of the other cats. Their primary visitors are the med staff and the volunteers who work there, and if you’re not one of those, you may not know them so well. But those who were known and loved were VERY well loved: orange Harry, shy Kojak, Jasper and Panther, sweet Bubba and his girlfriend Brady, and many others…

Princess Diva considered herself royalty in the back courtyard (MW)

In the Back Courtyard there are two groups that I still subconsciously look for. Based in the Newcomers was the Old Boys Club – Albi, Woody and Moxie, and a junior version based in Pen 1 which used to be led by tabby Zivko – poor Ringo is lost without his best buddy. And Pen 5 feels very empty with only Adam and May in residence; I miss sweet Rudolph and Salish, the love-birds, and the menage-a-trois of Capilano, Chinook and Walker – the latter spends more time hanging out with Pumpkin these days, and pen 5 is being taken over by the Kamloops cats.

Mario and his feral friends (MW)

We still have visitors who ask after blue-eyed Honey Bear, and disabled Terry, sweet Daisy with her genetic quirk, and messy Manx-syndrome SweetPea, incontinent Fido, and majestic Dell.  And who can forget our cat-charmers? – Mario, the orange-and-white Romeo, and sweet Salty, surrounded by his friends.  We grieve their passing, but if we loved them, they remain in our hearts, and the love we gave them multiplies to be shared with the current cats, and those who are yet to come into our hands. Love is what the RAPS Cat Sanctuary is all about – our cats may not have conventional homes of their own, but as long as they are in our care, they will have much love from staff, volunteers and visitors – love on both sides of the Rainbow Bridge.

We all loved sweet Marty (LBF)

Blog by Brigid Coult (with thanks to Claire Fossey for many of the early links)
Featured image: “Beautiful, Calico, Timber” by Karen Nicholson, Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson, Tanisha Vincent, Debbie Wolanski, Michele Wright