Canada’s only cat sanctuary is reopening to the public this weekend in Metro Vancouver, and it’s an excellent opportunity to meet a new fur-end.
Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Cat Sanctuary is welcoming back guests to its Richmond haven starting on Saturday, April 30, and every weekend after.
The sanctuary was closed for two years due to the pandemic. RAPS CEO Eyal Lichtmann told Daily Hive that he is excited to open its doors to feline fans again.
“It is such a relief and a happy homecoming to welcome guests back to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary,” said Lichtmann. “Our visitors range from seniors to people with developmental challenges, or other barriers to access. When they visit with the feline residents, they feel a genuine sense of belonging and rejuvenation. The cats give and receive unconditional love, and that is what makes the sanctuary such a special place.”
RAPS Cat Sanctuary is open on Saturdays and Sundays with timeslots from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is a suggested donation of $12 and visitors are asked to show up 10 minutes before their scheduled time.
The sanctuary guidelines are available online so you know what to expect and how to socialize with the hundreds of cats when you arrive. There are a maximum of 50 visitors per hour.
There are many places to sit and relax while surrounded by the kitties. And of course, photos are highly encouraged during your visit.
RAPS is a non-profit, no-kill animal services agency. Its cat sanctuary serves as a home for hundreds of feral, abandoned, and surrendered cats that are cared for by RAPS volunteers.
“Our no-kill promise says that no animal is ever euthanized due to lack of space, treatable illness, physical defect, age, behavioural or socialization issues,” explained Lichtmann. “We can only keep this promise because we have the constant, steadfast support of thousands of animal allies in the community. Each of the residents of the Sanctuary owes its life to the friends who volunteer and who donate to let us deliver individualized care to every animal.”
One of the many volunteers is Justin Saint, a Vancouver-based voice actor who has volunteered with the Cat Sanctuary since last Fall.
“I love volunteering at the cat sanctuary because it allows me to really bond with so many loving cats,” said Saint, who was recently spotlighted as a Volunteer of the Month. “I’ve been coming to the cat sanctuary as a visitor since before the pandemic, but I decided to start volunteering last September.
“Feeding and caring for the hundreds of cats at the sanctuary is a lot of work, but it is so rewarding whenever the cats run up to greet me as I enter the different sections.”
It’s a busy time for RAPS. The society recently opened its permanent RAPS Adoption Centre, located outside of the Cat Sanctuary, which will help cats find their forever family. They are also continuing to raise funds to complete the new RAPS Dog Sanctuary.
And new TV documentary series will give viewers an in-depth look into RAPS Animal Hospital, the special team of veterinarians who care for the loved pets, and the thrift stores and volunteers that helps raise funds for vet care and life-saving surgeries.
Pets & Pickers is an all-new Canadian series airing on Discovery, CTV.ca, and the CTV app, beginning May 12. A special advance screening will also be held on May 10 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel.
According to Lichtmann, the show will motivate people to get involved in helping to rescue more animals.
“We’re excited for everyone to see Pets & Pickers,” added Lichtmann. “It’s a show about love, resilience, and how the community makes a difference when we work together.
“In a short four years, RAPS Animal Hospital has been able to provide more than $3 million in subsidized care to the community. These stories, in which families face horrific choices, have happy endings only because we have the support of people who choose our not-for-profit model, through which every dollar generated is reinvested to care for less fortunate animals.”
Richmond Cat Sanctuary
When: Saturdays and Sundays starting on April 30, 2022
Time: Various time slots from 1 to 4 pm
Where: 3380 No. 6 Road, Richmond. RAPS asks that anyone driving to please park on No. 6 Road as space is very limited.
Admission: Suggested donation of $12, purchase online