Cat Sanctuary

Farewell to the Moore House

Many of the staff and volunteers are feeling sad.  But it’s not a cat we’re grieving over – it’s one of the cats’ houses!

In the early days of the Sanctuary, when RAPS was dealing with the worst of the feral cat problem in Richmond, the Moore House was the home of the kittens.  When we took on the running of the City Shelter, most of the kittens were transferred there, for easy adoption access, and the building was repurposed as the home of our senior cats – a special and beloved project of Marianne Moore, an anchor volunteer for many years, and creator of the Kitty Comforter concept, which has become such an important part of encouraging cats to feel more at ease when they come here.
One room in the building was put aside for occasional kitten use, for “teens” who needed more hands-on attention, or for cats who needed some separation from the others.  Front courtyard inhabitants Beetle and CricketMozart, Benny, Leo and Caleb have all had kitten room time there; Banshee and Domino lived there while waiting out their leukemia isolation (and eventual adoption); Sage and SilkyMya and KirstyDawn and Twilight are all kitten room “grads”
But the primary purpose of the Moore House was to provide a home for a very special group of felines. Typically, Moore House cats came to us from owners who had died, or gone into care, and whose old cats had nowhere else to go. Very few people are willing to take on an elderly cat or two, and especially one who is cranky because of a forced relocation.  The homeliness of the Moore House was intended to give them comfort, and keeping the numbers limited meant that the inhabitants didn’t get on each other’s nerves too much.

The addition of a closed deck was a blessing on hot days (and even sometimes on cooler ones) and many of the cats enjoyed the fresh air and the view from the variety of seats and beds scattered around.

However, the trailer was not new when it came to us, and because we live on the edge of farmland, there is a constant rat-problem. The combination of rotting wood, and the rats accessing the crevices – never actually getting into the interior, but making their way into the surrounding structure – all this has contributed to a building that is no longer healthy for cats or people. Already many of the Moore House cats have been adopted, fostered or relocated to other areas in the Sanctuary, and it won’t be long before the building itself is removed. We hope that a replacement can be found, because the need has not gone away – we still need to be able to offer stressed, elderly cats a safe place where they can settle.

The Moore House itself will be gone soon, but the memories will remain. Many of the Moore House cats have been featured in earlier blog stories, some of them by Marianne herself:  Eng Teng and Peng Peng; little Pauline who preferred to hide in her box; fragile Noni whose body never really recovered from having being fed a vegan diet; persians BluebellMiuMiu and GracieMae (who went on to her own home). We’ve had our share of angry cats, and volunteers who fell in love with them, giving them a reason to be angry no more – JackVenusBuster, and most recently Smokey, who is blissfully happy with her new family.
Thanks to the vision for these old cats, many volunteers have spent quiet hours cleaning, feeding, and most importantly, loving them, so that coming to RAPS no longer feels like their family has rejected them, but that they have found a new family with us. We are working to make the last of our Moore house cats comfortable in a new space – whether elsewhere at the Sanctuary, or with a new home, we don’t know yet.  We hope that when the current building is demolished, it can be replaced with a new structure that can house more generations of cats who need the quiet surroundings and loving care that their predecessors found with us.

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