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.
Friday, August 24, 2012
"Do Not Enter": caring for feral cats
While there are many things that make RAPS pretty special, one of the things that really sets us apart is the safe place to live that the sanctuary is able to provide for feral cats. This is something to be proud of, not only because it's a long-term commitment for RAPS to take in these wild cats, the vast majority of whom will never be adoptable, but because providing them with the care they need to live as long and healthy lives as possible is no easy task.
Volunteers and visitors to the sanctuary will be familiar with this sign that occasionally appears on a cage door:
Sometimes it's there simply because the temporary resident of the cage is a flight risk determined to make life in lock up very temporary indeed. And sometimes it's there because the cat receiving medical attention is a feral needing to be approached with extreme caution.
Recently Dell, one of our ferals who's had a particularly hard time accepting the idea of humans coming anywhere near him, was looking sickly and needed to be brought in from the back pens for medical care. We don't know what happened to Dell before he came to RAPS, but whatever it was taught him to respond to any human presence that makes him feel uncomfortable by rushing and trying to drive the interloper away. Needless to say, capturing him and then daily getting close enough to give him any medication he might need is not an easy task. The only way to capture him safely (for his sake as well as the med staff's) is to net him.
Here, Leslie is obliged to use the net even when Dell is in his cage to keep him still for long enough to treat him.
Sturdy gloves are a good idea too. And you can see what the cats have done to even those over time!
Fluids and meds successfully given, the net is removed and Leslie has to get out of the cage before Dell moves from simply hissing as he is in the photo below to actually trying to chase her away.
So next time you see RAPS med staff setting out with a net, a pair of battered gloves, and a look of determination, think for a moment about how hard they work to look after all the animals in their care, even the ones who will never, ever, say thank you.