RAPS is short for Regional 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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Feline faces of Prince Charming

Volunteer Pauline Chin spent her Valentines Day being romanced by some feline charmers.
Leo - MW
Among the 400+ cats at the Sanctuary there are several males who have high regard for their looks and utilize a charming personality. What makes these cats into princes is that they know how to give off just the right amount of charm to pull people in without looking needy, or without losing their composure easily.  In the same way cat hair is attracted to clothes, people can’t help but be magnetized towards these gentlemen.
Lincoln - MW
The most well-known charmer is long-haired Lincoln.  As a long time resident, his gentle demeanor is offered to rookie volunteers to get cat-handling experience… without getting scratched.  Lincoln’s sultry eyes, medium length hair, and tabby markings entrance many.  He will pose for photos!  He often occupies the basket closest to the Double-Wide door so Sunday visitors can spot him immediately on entrance or exit.  Lincoln is very particular about being handsome.  If he’s not looking his best, he gets depressed and hides.
Whiskers - MW
Whiskers is rough around the edges, but welcomes attention.  He loves humans and is highly enthusiastic towards females.  Call his name and he’ll stand up from the papasan chair, awaiting affection.  He can be petted for a long time and is happy to pet you in return.  In warm weather, Whiskers enjoys following people around.  He likes it most when you’re seated, so he can give you head bonks.
Colin - MW
Colin tends to be overlooked because of his brown-black coloration.  He likes to be petted, brushed, have lap-time, and knead blankets.  He leans towards the company of older gentlemen (being one himself).  But, he’s content to sit next to quiet people.  Sometimes, he’ll stand tall on the table and nudge you for pets.  Colin gets so thrilled, he nearly slides off the table at times.  He loves posing for photos and being told he’s good-looking – anything that makes him feel handsome!
Leo - KN
Fluffy prince, Leonardo DiCatprio welcomes visitors to the Tea Room.  He flirts with leg rubs and lap-time (and mooching our food!)  He’s so attractive that most people just give him anything he wants.  When there’re many humans present, he will proudly walk on the tables to get attention.  You’ll feel like royalty if he chooses to settle on your lap.  Visitors don’t mind the white fluff he leaves on their clothes, either.
Kiefer - KN
Kiefer, in the Single-Wide, is a handsome panther who likes to invite company to the couch.  He’ll hover nearby and try to convince you to follow him.  While you’re on the couch, you’ll be joined by others from his circle, like Debo, Merren, and the curious-but-wary Bossanova.  Meepos and Mya will watch from above, so no need to worry about them bouncing off your head.  Kiefer will sit for a long time and will let you know if he wants physical touch or just someone to accompany him.
Buzz - BC
Buzz is a new arrival from Shuswap and has already charmed his way into our hearts.  Fluffy and cuddly are a winning combination.  It’s a huge treat to interact with a new cat and not worry about bleeding.  Buzz is happy to be petted all over.  You can give a little or a lot of affection and he’s delighted either way.  I’ve had him climb on me to get head bonks.  He’s going to have quite a fan club once he’s released.
Whiskers - MD
These cats all adore attention and enjoy returning it to humans.  They maximize their charms in unique ways and take pride in their appearance.  If you’ve never been charmed by a cat before, take a chance with one of these princes.

Blog by Pauline Chin
Photos by Melanie Draper, Karen Nicholson & Michele Wright

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Furry Families

As we approach the Family Day weekend, I thought I’d take a look at some of the feline families that constitute the Sanctuary inhabitants.
Sandy and Pebble can never be mistaken for anything other than sisters! - KN
Because so many come in as ferals, we can’t always be sure about which cats are related – but family is family – through blood or through bonds of affection.
Mozart & Pistachio - KN
Some of last week’s blog cats are obviously family by blood – Mozart, Pistachio and Caleb have clear family resemblance. Their “teen” buddies, Leo and Benny are bonded, but not genetically related to each other or to the first three; however all are obviously “family” to each other.
In  Pen 6: Aphrodite, Athena, Vesta, Nyx - LBF
This past summer, we had a major trapping operation when a feral colony was suddenly discovered, with kittens and pregnant moms everywhere. All the kittens have been adopted, but we’re working on getting the young adults comfortable with us.  Pen 6 is now home to a colony of shy teens, and the Kitty Comforters are making slow but steady progress in coaxing them to accept attention.
Pax - MW
Zeus - now a cuddle-bug - MD
Two big black fuzzies are probably the baby-daddies to a number of the adopted kittens. Zeus and Pax now live in the Val Jones area with the other friendly FIV+ cats. Both have settled well, and may well have been strays rather than feral; however, an un-neutered cat is anxious to roam and find a female, and fighting males can easily pass FIV to each other in bites. 

Ariel - KN

Barbara - KN
One small family has joined us from Kamloops. Outside the city boundaries, another feral colony grew out of control. Private rescuers have been going in and trapping, and shelters in many places have been stepping up and taking in the less adoptable cats. We accepted Baxter, Bruley, Barbara and Ariel – knowing that the first three had a respiratory virus and would need careful tending. They have done well, and are now part of the Double-Wide population, and reunited with Ariel. Barbara is particularly loved by many volunteers; she has something of the chromosomal disorder that marked our beloved Daisy.
Honeydew, Melon, Kiwi - KN/LL
brother Shiver - MW
The three calico cats in the Connor House are obviously sisters; Melon, Honeydew and Kiwi all seem to enjoy each others’ company.  We don’t know whether their “brother” Shiver is related by blood – his appearance is nothing like the others. But more than one male cat can mate with a female, and it’s possible that in one litter you can have kittens that look radically different from each other, because half their genes are from another source.
Samantha loves to snuggle with Eclipse - KN
Without genetic linkage, there are cats that move together to make clear “families” - sometimes of semi-bonded pairs, sometimes just of individuals that like each other. Samantha likes to have “her boys” around – she is most often found snuggling with Chimo (who still misses his beloved PawPaw), but loves to be with Eclipse, and now Winston is often in the vicinity.
A sisterly grooming session with Sage & Silky

Little Barbara (above) has made herself at home on the DoubleWide deck with the feral boys - Luke, Bodhi and Hamlet are unrelated but bonded, and now they have a little adopted sister.
Barb and her boys - JK
Cats often have a reputation as loners, but at the Sanctuary we also see how important family can be to them.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen, Melanie Draper,
Jennine Kariya, Leslie Landa, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Relocating the Teens

Some of our younger cats have come to us at an age which misses the optimal window for socialization, and they hover in the cusp between feral and approachable.
Mozart (also known as "Poptart") - KN
Young kittens, living and playing together, learn to socialize with each other and with the humans caring for them; it becomes relatively easy to get them comfortable with handling, and thus ready for adoption at the City Shelter. But kittens who come to us at 6 months old or more may have missed that opportunity, and many remain fearful and not so easily handled.
Caleb exploring - KN
Sometimes, some determined play/handling therapy can turn the corner; we’ve had a number of kittens who have eventually been adopted, once they’ve learned that humans aren’t so bad. But we also have several who, though friendly enough now, remain feral at heart – easily scared, and not good adoption prospects unless they truly bond with a human. Silky and Sage, Cricket and Beetle are now all cats like that – handleable in a space where they are comfortable and relaxed, but we would be very wary about ever adopting them out.
Leo & Benny as  newcomers - LL
Leo & Benny still together - KN
We recently had a batch of these “teens” in semi-isolation in the room on the east end of the Moore House.  Regular visits from staff and Kitty Comforters got them a little more comfortable with handling, but it was obvious they they were not yet ready to be relaxed with visitors, and not likely to enjoy a move to the City Shelter. As with the other “teens” above (now full adults), it was decided to relocate them to the front courtyard.
Mason - KN
After an initial stay in the large Hill House cages, the doors were opened. It was interesting to see the different reactions.  Blond Leo was not happy – he has always been the shyest of the bunch, and he decided to hunker down in the cage and not come out for a while. That’s OK – he has time to adjust, and the Kitty Comforter visits will continue.  His buddy Benny was always braver, and was quick to emerge and explore; he likes to be around staff and volunteers, “helping” with chores. Leo now explores a bit, but prefers it when Benny is there to give him confidence.
All-black Mason was also quick to explore, and discovered a whole bunch of other little black cats – which makes it a bit difficult to pick him out!  For the greater part, he seems to have relocated himself to the feral cat area - but he does emerge occasionally to interact with his buddies.
Pistachio showing off - CP
"We pause to show paws, but the clause are no claws!'
The other three have settled in well. Pistachio was always the most social of the family; she is enjoying her explorations, and making friends. Caleb was initially cautious, but has expanded his range right across the courtyard and has joined the formal-wear crowd – between Miller, Vesper, Puck, Sylvester and Marvel – and that’s not counting the easily distinguished ones like ZeeZee, Spirit, and Mabel – it’s getting almost as hard to distinguish between the tuxes as between the many little blacks!
Mozart - CP
Nobody can mistake Mozart for another cat, though. His gorgeous floofy coat is the most intriguing mixture of grey and black. Initially very timid about relocation, he has begun to relax and to explore more readily. He joins the others in games of “get the red dot”; he’s beginning to seek out humans for interaction, and is often among the greeters at the gate.
Mozart in the snow - KN
We would love to see these six adopted, but we feel a move to the City Shelter would be too stressful for them, and we would want to be very sure that they had bonded with an adopter – whether they go singly or in pairs. In addition, they are all still very dependent on each other – Leo and Benny in particular.  For more information about any of them, we hope you will contact Shelter Manager Lisa Parker – lisap@rapsbc.com
Fur, as it should be worn - KN

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Leslie Landa, Karen Nicholson, Carol Porteous

Thursday, January 30, 2020


In the many blogs to date, we’ve already seen a variety of body shapes, eyes, and colours in which the Sanctuary cats come.  Volunteer Pauline Chin decided to look at some feline legs.
HoneyBear curls his long legs for sleep - MW
Firstly, don’t let the appearance of the cat’s legs or their funny walks fool you.  HoneyBear and the late Terry have defied many expectations.  Despite his  neurological problems, which affect his back legs, HoneyBear is one of the top climbers.  He can run like a horse and stalk toys like a tiger.
Having climbed to one of the walk-ways,
HoneyBear wants to know what's down there  -  LP
HoneyBear is constantly on the move on Sundays.  His seal-point colouration, snowshoe feet, and jewel-blue eyes are reasons why people follow him around for a photo-op.
Akiva's built like a racehorse! - MW
Newcomer and tall boy Akiva is probably the leggiest cat on site.  He’s mostly grey with white socks. With his lean body, you can really see his long legs without any primordial pouch or extra fat hiding them. Akiva enjoys his freedom to investigate the back courtyard and to meet new people.  He uses a slow, quiet approach.  With his height, you won’t overlook this senior gentleman (he’s about 13).
This is MY cage, Akiva says,,,   - KN
He’s very much a loner, not enjoying the company of other cats, and could really do with having a home of his own.
Debo on his throne - MW
Debo is another leggy senior, and  he loves to get his white mittens on you.  He uses his legs mainly for climbing on and hugging people. Debo spends at least 90% of the time on “his” chair in the Single-Wide.  When he wants attention, he’ll hop off and slowly chase you.  Pursuing people for affection is how he gets his exercise. He may be an old guy, but there's still a lot of spring in those legs!
Jack Sparrow curls his disable rear end around - TV
Pops and Jack Sparrow both arrived with 4 legs but can only use two.  Sparrow loves to climb on the cat trees and asks for lap time now and then. He moves on his front legs like a human walking on their hands.  He has the advantage since his back legs have no bones.  He actually walks faster than most 2-legged creatures I know.
Pops loves attention - KN
Pops prefers the ground.  He drags his remaining back leg as he walks.  It seems awkward, but he manages himself well and never lets it bother him.  Sometimes, he craves cuddles and plops himself by a chair, waiting to be picked up.  Watch Pops practically teleport over when there’s delicious chicken plated out!
Chonky Lorelei has stubby little legs - MW
Lorelei the rotund cat has some short-looking legs beneath all that fur.  You’ll probably see her watching from a distance.  Unless you’ve befriended her, she’ll take off quickly.  You’d think her large body and fluff would slow her down.  Not at all!  Her little legs are so swift that she can vanish into the feral area within seconds.  If you’re one of her friends, she’ll stand still for petting, even giving leg rubs.  Take this chance to feel those muscles!
Leggy Hannah loves her cat-tree - and doesn't much like other cats - MW
Orange & white Hannah (fans call her Hanna-Banana) can perform a unique trick with her legs.  She’ll grab onto a pole of a cat tree and swing, dance, and roll around it.  Other cats are not amused, especially if they’re in the same tree, but it’s great entertainment for human visitors.  Her monkey dance performances are limited, so watch her while you can.
Bella's baleful stare reminds us that she's not always a fan of humans - KN
One of the springiest sets of legs belongs to Bella - the third Bella that's lived with us.  She enjoys her me-time and seeks out the highest shelves, or the tops of outside pens.  Visitors can spot her leaping across cagetops, while they marvel at her dilute calico colouration.  Sometimes, she naps on the cardboard atop the food cupboard, or walks over for pets.  Bella was a frequent target for rapscallion boy, Jasper and had to become fleet of feet.  When the chase was on, she fled to the tallest platforms, even wedging herself behind a barrier.  Bella’s agile legs always kept her ahead of Jasper!
Pretty Parker supervising the laundry room - and ready to swat!  - MW
Many cats - especially the shy ones -  enjoy being up high, and all the buildings are set up so that cats can choose their preferred level, and give those legs a workout!

Blog by Pauline Chin (with Brigid Coult)
Photos by Karen Nicholson, Lisa Peters, Tanisha Vincent, Michele Wright

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Comfort for Tikki

Tikki came to us late last summer
Tikki - MW
Tikki is one of many of our older cats who have arrived at the Sanctuary when their owner’s health has necessitated a move to senior care. There are very few facilities that will allow an old person to take the cat they love with them, and unless the cat is young and adoptable, at the Shelter it is competing with cute kittens for potential adopters.
Where did they go? - LBF
Our Tikki is at least 12 years old – he might well be older -  and he certainly qualifies as a senior, himself. Initially he could have been taken to the Moore House, but it was decided that he should stay in the Double-Wide, and that was a decision with both pluses and minuses. On the negative side, it transpired that he didn’t like other cats much – and when there are a series of “this is my turf” cats like Jasper and Cinnamon Bun Lincoln, who pee anywhere they think they can claim, I don’t blame Tikki for being a bit disgruntled.  But on the plus side, his cage was near the entrance, so there were many humans who could drop in and spend a little time with him.
Cuddles with Ken - temporary comfort - LBF
We’re told that Tikki is a Norwegian Forest cat.  There may well be some “weegie” in him, but he’s not much more than standard size, and he doesn’t have the solid appearance of our former “weegie” Fred. He has the long fur – now rather bedraggled – and the fairly big paws, but I think there’s a good bit of regular tabby in him.
First explorations - KN
The thing that has stood out most for me about Tikki is that he is one of the grievers. Some cats are not happy about coming here, but they settle and adapt. For months, Tikki exuded sadness - “my person is gone – I’m all alone”. He allowed petting, he could occasionally be coaxed into eating, but mostly he was a sad lump in his cage. When it was finally opened, he declined to leave; this was his space, and other cats were not welcome. Many of us spent time with him; grooming him as much as he would allow (necessary, but not his favourite thing), petting him, encouraging him onto a lap, or into a cuddle. And then he would retreat back to his corner and look out with sad eyes.
"Baby, it's cold outside" - KN
In the past couple of months there’s been a shift towards acceptance; he was found outside his cage more often, he’s negotiated the door into the laundry room and explored a bit there, and then he made his way to the door and down the stairs into the breezeway. Followed by Karen and her camera, he poked around a bit, investigated a  few (smelly) corners and then decided that it was too cold for him, and returned to familiar territory.
a better appetite now...   - BC
Not long after that first outing the decision was made that he would probably be better off in the Moore House with the other oldies.  A short cage-stay there, to assimilate the changes in his surroundings, and it became obvious that this was a better space for him – warmer, less busy, and with fewer cats swaggering around in his space.
and a happier boy...   BC
There are sometimes Kitty Comforters visiting in there, but life is quieter - except for the times he actually gets excited about playing

Once again, Tikki is exploring – he’s ventured out on the deck, as well as investigating the main room. He welcomes visitors, hovering hopefully by the door, but usually returning to the safety of "his" open cage.  It’s encouraging to see him pushing his boundaries, more readily tolerating other cats around him, and learning that there really is love and a new home for him with us.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by  Brigid Coult, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson, Michele Wright

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Winter Kitties

Darius is making a snow-angel-kitty  -  KN
The Wet Coast has for this week become The White Coast, and as usual, coastal BC reels under what is normal weather for much of the rest of the country!
Snow piled high in the front courtyard - BC
Having a cat sanctuary in BC is normally no big deal – many of the cats spend their time outside, and dedicated volunteers come from as far away as 50k to scoop or sweep or snuggle their feline friends. But when the snow hits, most of the cats vanish inside, the roads become skating rinks, and staff and volunteers struggle to get in to do their shifts.
Thanks goodness for shovelled walks - DW
It’s all very pretty-looking – till you have to slog along in it. Working in the trailers is cosy enough, but feeding the back pen cats on a snowy evening takes real determination. Thank goodness for Ken, who shovelled paths everywhere – and then had to go back and shovel them again.
Cagney and Petunia are staying out of the white stuff! - BC
 Most of the cats take the sensible path and snuggle up with some buddies;  leave it to the humans to get through all that white stuff.  Other cats seem to like the contrast.  I was greeted at the gate by Kiwi, who has come to us from Alberta – obviously snow holds no fear for her!
Kiwi enjoys the snow - BC
Figaro wasn’t quite sure if he liked it, but he was ready to chase a snowball or two.
Throw another one, please!  -  BC
Some of our kitties have Norwegian Forest Cat genes – lots of fur, big paws, and no fear of snow.  Little Autumn, in the front courtyard, was having a wonderful time; her big floofy coat was coated with snow crystals, but she didn’t care!
Autumn likes her snow bathing  - BC
Leonardo diCatprio was just enjoying lying there all by himself in the snow. Leo often enjoys his own company, but I didn’t know he was a snow lover.
Sometimes I sits and thinks....    BC
Pretty Sprocket, too, has a coat that will hold off the snow.
Sprocket - BC
Once Skittles saw I was out for a walk-about, he followed me.  This boy definitely has some “weegie” in him, and snow holds no fears.  He was, however, a bit annoyed by the fact that I wouldn’t cuddle him!
Skittles  -  BC
Ploughing through snow almost at his own height, he was getting pretty well coated!
Wylee is not a snow cat and looks on all this white stuff with a certain disapproval.  He likes to be out, but he has no desire to get any wetter and colder than he has to!
Wylee wants it to go away - BC
Just like people - some like the change in the weather and are active in snow-play; others cuddle up in their beds until it's gone again.  And this is the Lower Mainland - it won't last long, and we'll soon be back to the usual wet stuff!
Cadbury and Yma have cold paws!  -  LBF

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Karen Nicholson, Debbie Wolanski