RAPS is short for Richmond Animal Protection Society, a registered charity and operator of a sanctuary which houses and cares for more than 400 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.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Volunteer/Cat Relationship: Julian and Dell


When I take visitors round on a Sunday, I always stop at the back feral pen and introduce them to Dell. He’s been featured here a few times, but he’s worth re-introducing as one of our greatest successes. Briefly, he came in as a fierce attack cat, and eventually ended up doing a 180-degree turn to become a lap-cat.

A large part of that turn-around has come from Dell’s chance to reconcile all his bad experiences in a safe place – he now knows his space, he has his cat-buddies like Gregory.  But a greater part has come from the patience of some of our volunteers – both the regular cleaners and feeders, and the Kitty-Comforters, who make a point of spending time with seemingly timid or isolated cats. And we all have our favourites – many of us take time with a special cat each week; not a cat we could ever take home, but one that needs us nevertheless.

Julian is one of those volunteers. He’s regularly at the Sanctuary to feed and scoop in the single-wide, but he always finds time to head to the back pens and spend some special time with Dell. It’s thanks to Julian, and other volunteers like him, that Dell has become a lap-cat, loving attention.
Julian first came to visit at the Sanctuary almost six years ago. Brought by a friend, he knew from that first day that he was in a very special place, and that he would have some kind of future there. A dedicated cat-guy, he and his wife Michele (who takes so many of our wonderful photos) already have three cats of their own: a nine-year-old tortoiseshell named Misty and two almost six year old tabbies called Sadie and Max (who are brother and sister). 
But having cats at home doesn’t stop Julian and Michele from giving regular devoted time to the Cat Sanctuary. Every week they turn up to do the Friday evening feeds for the cats of the Single-Wide - as Julian says, Michele puts it in one end (feeds) and Julian takes it from the other end (scoops).

Another of Julian’s favourites is in the single-wide – a little grey girl called Simone, who loves to be carried around against a shoulder like a baby. Simone is actually a semi-feral, but in the security of an area she knows well, she loves to cuddle.

And no visit is complete without a stop in the front courtyard to have a little time with Julian’s buddy Bobby. Many cats will roll over and expose their stomachs – and then when you touch, they grab!  Bobby is known to his fans as ‘Belly-Rub Bobby” because he loves to have his stomach rubbed – and he can always count on Julian to deliver the best belly-rubs!
Blogger: Brigid Coult
Photos: Michele Wright

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