Visitors to the cat sanctuary will have noticed a series of wooden cat cutouts painted with a variety of faces, coat patterns and names. This is our own small version of the Rainbow Bridge, the place where all good pets go after they leave this world.
The idea started with a small number of larger cutouts displayed on the fences in the back courtyard. Seeing these, Marianne Moore was inspired a few years ago to start creating some of her own to commemorate the sanctuary cats who are no longer with us. Once she started, she just kept going. "It’s become my way of grieving for and honouring
resident cats that we’ve lost – some I barely knew but they were friends
of other volunteers, many were my own good friends and I’ve shed more than
a few tears over those."
Regretful that she hadn't started the project sooner and been able to commemorate all the cats we've lost over the years, she also created a larger cutout dedicated to all "The Unknown Kitties."
And where does Marianne get all the wooden cutouts she paints? She used to clean out Michaels, but even then it was hard to find enough. Recently, Kati DeGraaf, another volunteer, has started producing the wooden shapes to keep Marianne in good supply.
As fellow volunteer myself, I really appreciate having this tribute to the sanctuary cats who've passed away. I've met so many wonderful cats during my first three years at RAPS that I'm unable to easily keep them all constantly vivid and alive in my thoughts without a little help. For those cats who are no longer present and able to remind me personally as they once would have, it's a comfort to be able to go and pass my eyes over the names and faces of all the little wooden cats and take a moment to spare a thought in their memory.
RAPS is short for Richmond Animal Protection Society, a registered charity and operator of a sanctuary which houses and cares for nearly 500 homeless or abandoned cats in Richmond, BC, Canada. The Neko Files is a celebration of the sanctuary and all those who live and work there.