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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When they first came to the sanctuary, Salty and Shelley were so attached to one another that shelter staff thought it would be too cruel to separate them. The caption next to their picture on the gallery page read "These sweet, gentle siblings are hoping for a home together", echoing the dear hope that they could be adopted out together.

Shelley and Salty 
photo provided by RAPS

Several years later, they're still at the sanctuary. And the undying devotion? They grew out of it.

I haven't had a chance to get to know Shelley yet, so for the moment I'll just write about Salty, who has made an effort to capture my attention - and affection - on a number of occasions.

The first time I met him, he was sitting amongst the flowers and greenery in one of the planters out the back, determined to show off for me and receive some praise. But he’d respond to my attempts to soft him by skittering just out of reach.

More recently, I’ve run into him a couple of times in the double wide and was so entertained by his show-off routine, now expanded to include dancing, weaving and sitting up like a meerkat so I can stroke his head and back, that I had to ask Leslie about him.

That’s when she told me about him and Shelley. And how even after it was established that the siblings could in fact live without each other, nobody chose Salty to adopt. So that several years later, there he is still. Either potential adopters found him a little on the shy side, or sometimes there may have been no more of a reason than they were looking for a ginger that day, or a calico, a longhair…

I’ve brought several friends out to the sanctuary since I started volunteering there and they found it enjoyable and relaxing to spend time with any number of happy cats. Some even came out on other occasions, enjoying it all over again. But when I took my dad out there, he grew quiet and seemed a little sad. Later he said it was all a bit overwhelming, all those good cats…

I didn’t fully understand how he felt right away, since their presence is one of the things that makes each volunteer shift a joy. But meeting Salty, a nice looking fellow with a personality that's both sweet and fun...  and who's living in a shelter rather than a home simply because nobody picked him. And suddenly I find myself getting kind of quiet and feeling a little sad.
All those good cats...

MUTTS by Patrick McDonnell


  1. Your post made me feel a little quiet and sad too.
    I hope Salty finds a home soon. He looks and sounds like a lovely cat.

  2. He really is a lovely cat. It would be so great to see him go live with some nice people.
    Same for so many cats there!