Kittens and cats: a Christmas giving guide
No, this isn't a list of cute cat sweatshirts or trendy kitty-themed comic books: there are plentiful in the nearby malls. The following is a "giving" guide for people wanting to spend their hard-earned dollars on making the lives of cats a little easier.
Photo sourced from RAPS blog
The Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) Cat Sanctuary is the largest centre of its kind in North America, and provides shelter for 700 animals. It was set up in 1989 to help feral (wild) offspring of lost or abandoned cats, many of which would be put down in other animal shelters. The sprawling facility provides a safe temporary home for many cats and kittens, and serves as a permanent home for especially hard-to-adopt cats and sick cats living with feline AIDS. For people who want to help cats locally, RAPS is a great place to start.
The Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) is a no-kill, non-profit, registered charity committed to the rescue of cats in the Lower Mainland. Unlike most organizations, VOKRA does not have a shelter. Instead, it gives over 100 individual foster homes throughout the Lower Mainland, which helps protect baby kittens from colds, parasites and other transmissible illnesses. VOKRA was formed 11 years ago, mainly to care for bottle-feeding kittens that were unlikely to survive without a mother. VOKRA is 100 per cent by volunteers and private donations. Since it receives no government funding or contracts, all funds go directly to supplies, equipment and operational costs.
Photo of Caboodle Ranch by Vegansaurus
Caboodle Ranch is not local (it's in Florida) but it's an utterly unique facility that looks less like a shelter and more like a whimsical cat paradise. It all started when the ranch founder, Craig Grant, reluctantly adopted his son's cat, Pepper. Grant didn't even like cats at first, but soon grew to love Pepper – who turned out to be pregnant. One cat turned became six, and long story short, he bought 25 acres of land outside Jacksonville and took in many more cats that had not place to stay. The Caboodle Ranch is built on a large plot of land with beautiful cat-sized buildings (made by Grant himself), including a mini-City Hall. The Caboodle Ranch is a labour of love, run by a man who sacrificed his own material comfort for the benefit of animals.
Meow-Aid is a small local non-profit for homeless cats. The no-kill policy organization shelters homeless cats until it finds an owner, and has been doing good work in Vancouver for over 20 years. It was founded by Mandy Butcher, who came up with the idea for Meow Aid after seeing many “excess” cats put down at an animal help organization. The organization has, at any given time, 75-100 cats in its shelter, and helps find homes for 350 – 400 cats per year. But it's not cheap to run the shelter: a minimum of $50,000 per year to run the shelter and pay for veterinary bills. Find out more about Meow-Aid's cats for adoption.
Know of more well-deserving, no-kill cat shelters? Tell us in the comments below!