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, March 29, 2023


Alvin (KN)
As a volunteer, it's all too easy at the Sanctuary to spend most of your time in specific areas, covering shifts, and then discover that there are a bunch of new cats you don’t know in another area. That is particularly so when it comes to black cats – and I especially struggle with identifying the front courtyard black ones.

Alvin (BC)
So I found it interesting that in the last couple of months, I’ve had three black boys coming and “making nice” with me – though all three of them are not in fact pure black, but what I call flecked cats – black with little flecks of grey or white among the black fur.

L: Puddin' (BC);  R: Odin (KN)
The first of the three is Puddin’, introduced a few weeks ago; Puddin’ mostly hangs out in Pen 3, but likes to follow me round the back pens on a shift. He remains very affectionate, but is cautious, because his place on my lap is being invaded by Odin.  Odin bases in Pen 1. He was very shy when he first arrived with us, but time with the staff (especially Alice) and Kitty Comforters has worked wonders, and now he comes running when he hears my voice, and demands lap-sitting and lots of petting.

Alvin (KN)
The third is a front courtyard cat called Alvin. We think he’s around 9 years old, and was brought in to us by a local Samaritan who found him as a stray. It would be interesting to guess his background; he’s a friendly boy, so has obviously known human care and attention, but he was unneutered when he came to us, so hasn’t had good care. He’s been living stray for some time; he had bad teeth and a pellet lodged in his belly, so life has been tough.

Water is GOOD, Alvin!   (BC)
Alvin is one of many cats in our care with CKD – Chronic Kidney Disease. It’s very common in cats, especially the older ones, and our med staff are careful to monitor those in early stages, and give fluids where necessary. Ideally, a cat with CKD should be on a special diet, but given our setup it’s not possible without caging him – what Alvin needs is a home where he can get the special food he requires.  He would actually be a good candidate for fosterage; his CKD is in the early stages, and the right food is all he needs. Assistant Sanctuary Manager Valerie says that he would be a good candidate for foster-to-adopt.

Busy about cat "stuff"  (KN)
Street life as a lone male has taught him to be a little wary around other cats, though he’s not aggressive; he is one of the cats who will often come running to greet me, and will jump up to sit beside me on the bench and then edge over onto my lap. He’s not a big boy, though like many other formerly unneutered males, he has chubby cheeks.  He loves to be petted, and to be scritched around his ears; if someone else approaches – even someone as gentle as Little Orange – he gives way and scoots off.

Alvin (BC)
You’ll generally find Alvin around the Connor House – snuggled into a bed at the back or on the porch – if he’s not on greeting duty. Now he knows and is comfortable with us, it will be interesting to see how he behaves when our Sunday visitors start coming – I hope he will make some new friends!

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult & Karen Nicholson

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Choosing a Laptop

Bill, in New Aids, loves his laptime with Mel  (MD)
So you’re thinking about getting a new laptop? What’s important to you? Weight? Flexibility? User-friendly? There are so many models from which you can choose – and they’re all at the Cat Sanctuary!

The Single-Wide lapful  (JS)
As the song says (and we all know the pain) – “I can’t right now; I’ve a cat on my lap!” - lap-sitting with a cat is the perfect way of doing nothing and getting all the feels for it! But there are many different styles of lap-sitting.

Magnus says, "Come and sit with me NOW!"  (MW)  
There are cats like Magnus who climb into your lap and just settle there – no twitching or wriggling – just letting you know that you are now their comfy place, and you are NOT TO MOVE.

Adria LOOOVES lap-time - though it may not be restful   (BC)
There are the cats who want to be on your lap, but who wriggle and squirm to make sure they have all your attention; they want petting, but they don’t necessarily want to be held.

Oh, that smile....    (JS)
There are the cats like Roe who are advanced lap-sitters, blissed out by caresses, even allowing belly-rubs – and who will happily hog all your time. Roe is jealous if anyone else gets Justin’s attention before her.

"Can I come up now?" Bossanova is needy  (KN)
There are the lap-standers – they want to be up, but they don’t want to relax. Our sweet late Sara Lee was another lap-stander – and even when old and creaky, made determined efforts to struggle into volunteers laps at coffee time, though without ever settling. Bossanova can be coaxed into lying down with a bit of a belly-rub.

Cuddles with Jasmine need planning   (KN)
There are the cats with whom it’s wise to have a towel as padding – our leaky manx cats are loving and seek attention, but plan ahead to protect your clothing!

Sitting VERY still with JJ   (BC)
There are the cats who leap for your lap, but who do NOT want much in the way of touch! At coffee time, the human frozen postures tell who has JJ or Sophie sitting on them – both girls are reactive around hands, and stillness is appreciated.

KitKat is less interested in laps  (JS)
For some, laps are less an attraction than shoulders - KitKat is a determined shoulder-sitter!

Huey doesn't want Daphne to move  (DJ)
For others, the idea of the lap is nice, but they don’t actually want to be on it. Huey likes it best when he can sit on the couch beside you, and keep a possessive paw on you lap so that nobody else will claim it.

Elvis leads the lap-loading - 
Selena and Bear want in on it as well  (BC)
And for cats like Elvis, the lap is only the foundation to get as high on the chest as possible, so that he can gaze into your eyes, put his paws around your neck, and tell you how much he loves you.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult, Melanie Draper, 
Daphne Jorgenson, Karen Nicholson, Justin Saint, Michele Wright

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

William Shakespurr

William Shakespurr  (MW)
This little cutie is one of the cats from a hoarding situation in Alberta, who came to live in our Pen 3 back in 2021. The cats in this group were all young, and some were slightly socialized, but others were (and are) much warier.

Curious - but not enough for petting   (LBF)
William Shakespurr is one of the cats right on the cusp.  He’s social – but with cats rather than with humans. He hangs around with Cornelius and Jason – the latter likes attention and petting, but Cornelius is still very wary about being touched by anyone other than Lisa.  William’s very much in that space as well – he likes to be around the activity, especially if there is food being offered, but he’s not ready to be petted, and prefers to stay a foot or two out of reach.

Peeking through the cabin window  (KN)
Like Cornelius, he is something of a ham, and is ready to take part in photo-shoots as long as they don’t involve physical contact. He’s an active boy, ready to climb the structure behind Cabin 3, or even to the roof of the cabin itself. He can often be found visiting in the adjacent pens, but is not as ready as Cornelius to get as far as the Tea-Room.

Posing for Tongue-Out Tuesday with Jenkins & Cornelius   (LBF)
We don’t know who’s related to who, in this clowder, but my guess is that he and calico Baby are siblings – very similar in body shape and size, and often found together.  William’s colouring always makes me think of a bad haircut; he has beautiful tabby and white colouring, but it looks like he wears his hair in bangs.

Baby and William share a summer snooze   (LBF)
We would love to see some of these cats getting adopted, though this is such a social group that we would prefer that they go in pairs, so they have company. Sadly, though, I think it’s still too soon for William – hands are only acceptable to him if they hold chicken tidbits, and being petted is still pretty scary. Perhaps a little more time with the Kitty Comforters working on him...   

And if not – he’s always got a home at the Sanctuary.

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Puddin' and Butternut

Butternut   (KN)
Back in December I introduced a pair of Siamese who had, separately, come into our care. The female, Jasmine, was from the same Manitoba rescue where Picasso originated; the male, Strike, was a more local boy, and came to us with two other cats - we think, all around 4 years old.

Strike  (BC)
We understand that the three of them had lived at a home in Surrey and that their caregiver had passed, leaving them homeless. They were lucky enough to find a rescuer who feeds ferals in her back garden, and she recognized that these three boys were friendly and not your regular touch-me-not ferals. They might well be adoptable, but the Adoption Centre is full of kittens right now, and they’re better with us than in cages.

Puddin'  (BC)
On release from their initial cage stay with us, Strike decided that he was going to stay comfy, and he settled down to base himself in the Double-Wide. Puddin’, on the other hand, took himself as far away from the building as he could, and settled himself in Pen 3, at the east end of the Sanctuary. 

Puddin' out on a snowy day  (KN)
 Pen 3 is the one with all the Alberta cats, and they’re all pretty friendly; without plunging into a new social life, Puddin’ made himself at home there. He can usually be found by himself, but it’s less a “stay away from me” alone-ness, than just a tendency to be solo.

Puddin'  (BC)
Of course, another black cat to identify initially presents problems – but it doesn’t take long to see how different he is from most of the other blacks. In appearance he’s most like Odin, in Pen 1 – solid without being a chonk, with little grey flecks in his fur. His head is larger than Odin’s; the latter has a more pointed face. And like Odin, he has proved to be very friendly, anxious to jump up and lap-sit, and to give and receive attention.

Cage visit with Butternut  (BC)
The third cat of the trio is Butternut – a wonderful name for an orange boy. He also proved to be willing to be petted and fussed over while in a cage, but once released he got into a few too many fights with Jasper and Gizmo, and we ended up moving him to the front courtyard. Of course, there, it then put him face to face with orange Mango, so there was a bit more aggression to smooth over.

Butternut & Mango ignoring each other (BC)
I can tell who is who when I see them together – Mango is a bit larger and a bit younger; he has a lighter face and a lighter tail tip. But they’re almost identical in colouring, and now that Mango has calmed down, their behaviour is similar – meaning that they seem to like people but not other cats! Butternut seems to swat most when provoked – who can blame him? - whereas Mango is more inclined to go hunting for someone to swat. The big difference between them is that Butternut often seems to have really round eyes, unlike Mango, whose eyes are regular cat-shape.

Butternut playing at the tunnel  (BC)
Sadly, the affectionate Butternut of the initial cage days is no more; he’s friendly enough but not yet willing to come and solicit attention in the way that Puddin’ does. Some of that may just be caution, with Mango around.  But all three boys have known what it is to have a home and are quite adoptable; we can only hope that as they settle, they may bond with a summer visitor in the coming months. Till then, they can take their time and let themselves be comfortable with us at the Sanctuary.

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Brigid Coult & Karen Nicholson

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Two Icons

Cinnamon Bun Lincoln (LL)
I try to keep this blog focused on the positive aspects of the Sanctuary, and on the cats that have made new lives for themselves under our care. 

Tugboat when he first came to us (MW)
But some of them have such enormous personalities that there is an equally enormous sense of loss when they leave us.  Many volunteers reading this will know quite a lot about the back-stories of Lincoln and Tugboat, who passed recently – so this blog is mainly for our occasional visitors, or those who know the cats only through the blog.

Lincoln, mid-snooze  (MW)
Lincoln was known as Cinnamon Bun Lincoln for his curly tail – just one of those mutations that we see from time to time – and it made him instantly visible to visitors who would look for the cat with the cinnamon-bun tail. He has been with us for more than 16 years, and was adult when arrived – so he qualified as a SuperSenior. (15 years for a cat is equivalent to around 75 in a human).

Lincoln (MW)
Claire Fossey introduced him early in the life of the NekoBlog (check the link for the full story). The pelvic injury that brought him to us never slowed him down much, though it did cause his run to be more of a rabbit hop. But it never stopped him from going anywhere he wanted.

snuggled by the heater   (GA)
Often, that was to be in someone’s lap; Lincoln had many human friends, and really loved having quiet down-time with them on the DoubleWide couch. He was also well known for expressing his feelings when other cats interrupted his time, or when someone else got to the lap first – to be peed on by Lincoln became a marker of how favoured you were.

with girlfriend Dusty  (JS)
He wasn’t aggressive with other cats, but he wasn’t shy about standing up for himself either – he could scrap with Jasper or Gizmo if he felt it necessary, but he would also allow Dusty to cuddle with him in Waldie’s Hut. Most of the attachment there was on Dusty’s side – Lincoln was tolerant of her presence, but she did all the running! Poor Dusty has lost her third boyfriend - she bonded with Salty, and when he was gone, with Ridley. Though she allows herself to be petted, her first inclination with humans is to hiss, and she really needs cat companionship.

sharing warmth with SaraLee  (LBF)
In his last months Lincoln was battling recurring infections and spent most of his time in the warmth of the Tea-Room, sharing the radiator’s heat with Sara Lee, and having visits with his human friends.

Cuddles with Justin  (JS)
Tugboat came to us in 2010, losing his family to his bad bathroom habits!  When a particular “accident” resulted in damage to precious documents, they reluctantly surrendered him, but remained in touch with his special Sanctuary friend, Debbie. 

Begging the med-staff for treats  (JS)
Tugboat instantly endeared himself to all the staff and volunteers. Always a gentleman, he would beg so sweetly for attention that it was impossible not to stop and make a fuss of him. We wondered if his peeing habit might be mitigated by a home where he was the only cat – but it never happened; many volunteers already have more than one cat, and those who don’t are often in a situation where they can’t have a cat at all. So Tuggy remained with at the Sanctuary.

...all the love...   (KN)
He inherited the mantle of “Welcoming Tuxedo Ambassador” from Oreo Cookie in 2014 and was happy to be fussed over by visitors. As the years progressed he became increasingly arthritic, and was on medication for it. He was also one of the cats who became rather deaf, resulting in a much louder voice, and a “meow” that was more like the bleat of a sheep.

with couch buddies Huey and Colin  (JS)
Tuggy was easygoing with all the cats, but especially with his DoubleWide couch buddies, Colin and Plum. Colin is an empathetic cuddler – he knows who need contact and warmth, and offered it freely to his buddy. Little Manx Plum adored Tugboat, and loved to cuddle with him. Sadly, her Manx Syndrome condition meant that she was often pretty stinky, but Tuggy tolerated it, and we all loved Lisa’s Tuggy-and-Plum sequence of photos.

Tugboat with Plum (KN)
Lincoln and Tugboat were given all the care that would mitigate their advanced-age problems, and deeply loved to the end. They are greatly missed.
cuddles with best friend Debbie

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Graham Akiva, Lisa Brill-Friesen, Leslie Landa, 
Karen Nicholson, Justin Saint, Michele Wright

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Family

Zoey & Basil  (LBF)
You would think that in a Sanctuary for unadoptable cats, most of them would be unrelated to each other. Cats, after all, have a reputation for being loners. And while that may be accurate enough for many of our furry friends, we have always had cats in our care who are in fact family, or who have bonded to become family of choice.

Percival & SweetPea  (LBF)
Currently there are three colonies that are genetically “family”. Our newest group, introduced last year, are from the Kootenays, and there’s no denying the relationships between them.  Having come into our care as a very scared bunch, they are becoming increasingly social, and hurry to the gate for attention when their pen is approached. They’re not “tame” yet, but SweetPea is enjoying petting and even occasional lap-time, and many of the others are sufficiently food-motivated that touch is not far off.

Together is good  (LBF)
The cats in Pen 6 came to us from Sammy’s Forgotten Felines in Kamloops, back in 2021. As with the Kootenay cats, there is a strong family resemblance among them, and they like to be together, emerging from their pen like a shoal of goldfish. Of them all, only big Persimmon and pretty grey Chamomile are enthusiastic about human attention; by the others we’re accepted as a necessary evil, but one that does at least bring food on occasion.

Lucius, Shimmer & Sherbet  (LBF)
The biggest influx of cats at one time was the group that came from a hoarding situation in Alberta the same summer, and which has taken over Pen 3. Visually, they are less “family” than the other two groups, and there is definitely a variety of genetics at play, but there are also similarities in appearance.
Baker & Jenkins (LBF)
Jenkins and Baker are tuxedo near-twins, Holly and Reinhardt have identical pale green eyes; Cornelius’s short legs can also be seen in Dior and Jason.

Cornelius making up to Mercury  (LBF)
Cornelius is a social butterfly, and ready to be friends with everyone. He’s closest to his own colony, but he also snuggles with Cadbury, in the adjacent pen, and has an orange-boy-bonding with shy Mercury, who hangs out in the back of pens 1 & 2. Mercury tends to be a loner, so it makes us all happy to see him with Cornelius.

Juno, Atlas & Mercury  (LBF)
Mercury is also a family cat; he was part of a group of more than 60 cats and kittens trapped not too far away when someone’s feeding of feral cats got out of hand. His remaining family, Atlas, Juno and Nyx, hang out in the same area; they like treats enough to come running when chicken is offered, but they are not so keen on physical contact with humans. 

The family stare  (LBF)
The other group that comes to mind when I think “family” is mostly unrelated to each other. And to be honest, I think about them as The Family because fellow volunteer Daphne calls that back deck area of the Double Wide “the Red Light district” (for the heat lamp), and “The Catsino” with its inhabitants “the Mafia cats”. Tuxedos Hamlet, Luke and Bodhi (with occasional visits from Pancake) tend to be front and centre, with support from consigliere Denzel. But the metaphor loses power when the inscrutable stares give way to purring demands for attention and tidbits.

Best buds - Luke, Bodhi, Guthrie  (KN)
Many of our cats prefer to live in groups, whether blood-bonded, or just by affection. We love that Sanctuary life can offer them this option, and yet allow those who chose to be loners to live as feels most comfortable for them .

Blog by Brigid Coult
Photos by Lisa Brill-Friesen & Karen Nicholson