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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve and a little Jeffrey Brown

For one last quickie Neko Files post before we say goodbye to 2010, I'd like to share a few panels from one of my favorite "catoonists," Jeffrey Brown. With titles like Cats are weird and more observations for his comic collections, you'd think he'd had firsthand experience with some of our furry sanctuary friends. Enjoy!

Happy New Year, everyone. All the best for 2011.

- Claire

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Komiko is a pretty feral who'd been hanging around a Japanese restaurant before she came to the RAPS sanctuary.

She remains very shy, but is comfortable enough having humans around that she graciously allowed me to get within easy photographing - if not touching - range.

Komiko can be recognized by the little white patch on her chest and by the cute Fu Manchu mustache formed by white whiskers showing up against her black coat.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Longtime sanctuary resident Lucy came to RAPS from a pet store when the pet store closed down.

Already an adult when she arrived, Lucy was very friendly and loved to climb into a welcoming lap for a good cuddle. She soon showed an unpredictable side, though, sometimes suddenly acting up in the middle of a visit with swats and bites. As a result, she was never able to be adopted out.

These days she seems to have mellowed, though I'm told she can still nip on occasion. I myself have had nothing but rubs and purrs from her so far.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Meowy Christmas

Earlier this week, I brought in a holiday bow to see what the cats would make of it:

Charmin: No response. I suspect the ability to ignore being dressed up, decorated and other indiginities is bred into Persians as a survival trait

Daisy: Always happy to pop a pose. She would like to suggest a calendar or series of greeting cards.

Groucho: Amazingly, did not pee on the bow. Did wander over and pee on the rabbits' cage as soon I was done taking his picture.

Lincoln: Not interested in expending energy on something that doesn't appear to involve receiving tuna.

Carreen: Responded to the introduction of a large red bow in the way I'd frankly expected most of the cats to do - with an experimental chomp.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and enjoy the holidays in whatever way makes you happy.

 Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Claws

Happy holidays, everyone. There will be a brief posting tomorrow with a few photos of sanctuary cats getting in the spirit, with regular postings returning next week.

In the meantime, for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here's a delightful short by British animator Simon Tofield. Enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A little holiday cheer

Sanctuary residents and staff had a treat today with a visit from members of the Richmond Chorus.

Thanks to Brigid for organizing and to Phaedra for posting the video.


Our lone bunny Kringle is alone no longer. He has now been joined by a new arrival from the No. 5 Rd. shelter: Kris.

Kris is a big girl compared to Kringle, who's on the smallish side like his former companion, Amy. Kris is also pretty bouncy compared to Kringle's quieter brand of curiosity when it comes to receiving visitors. And she's the first of the rabbits I've seen actively - and quite enthusiastically - playing with the toys in her cage.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Meet Orlean:

She's not quite sure just yet if she's pleased to meet you.

After coming in as a stray, Orlean had a few health issues that, although not severe, did mean that her initial exposure to med staff had to involve a certain amount of poking and prodding. As a result, she's still rather loathe to trust the humans at the sanctuary.

The first few times I had to go into her cage to give her dinner or refresh her water, I'd find her sitting in the middle of her litter box, staring at me and meowing emphatically as is trying to ward off the unwelcome intruder.

Now she's out of her cage and still skittish about being touched, yet at the same time so curious about us that she can't seem to stop herself from sitting out in the open where she can get a good view.

Moving slowly and quietly, it's often possible to get close enough to reach out to her. Most times she'll respond with gentle slap to the back of the hand, but occasionally she'll allow a fingertip to touch the tip of her nose before she loses her nerve and scoots just out of range.

I'm thinking she has the makings of a sweet girl.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Update: Gunther (aka Cashew)

Gunther (we've gone back to the name he had at the No. 5 Rd. shelter) was a very unhappy kitty while in his cage, occasionally accepting a stroke or two but just as often violently lashing out instead. Once out of his cage, he'd park himself and his big sad eyes on a cat tree in the doublewide... and more often than not lash out if approached.

Or talked about.

Or looked at for too long.

My success rate for receiving any semblance of a cuddle rather than an angry clawing went down from around 50% to closer to 10%. I started to wonder if Gunther was ever going to get over apparently hating my guts and start to warm up to me and my attempts to befriend him.

Last week, Leslie mentioned a correlation she'd noticed between giving him treats or a little extra food and not getting clawed... So I brought in a can of tuna and presented him with numerous morsels. He didn't attack me, but it did seem that his goodwill was bought only for so long as the taste of tuna lingered in his mouth. If I waited too long between offering he'd start eyeing me suspiciously again.

When I returned a number of days later, I'd neglected to bring further bribes and therefore didn't expect much from any encounter with Gunther. But he surprised me. Not only did he let me get close without becoming agitated and defensive, he leaned into my hand when I ventured to stroke him. If that wasn't enough, he later hopped off his shelf, came over to were I was, and lightly head butted my palm when I reached down to him.

Hello, happy Gunther. Very pleased to meet you.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Sabrina was trapped by Carol and Leslie in Burnaby, where she'd been living as a stray amongst the clutter of someone's open garage. 

There were two black kittens with her, which RAPS was able to trap as well and bring them to the sanctuary. When the cats were taken for their vet check-up, though, the vet informed staff that the kittens couldn't be Sabrina's, not biologically anyway.

Having lived the first few months of their lives without human interaction, the kittens remained pretty wild even after coming to live at the sanctuary. Sabrina, on the other hand, turned out to be a sweetheart. You may not see much of her in the day, as I'm told she likes to wait for nightfall before she ventures out and about in the front yard. But if you find her there, or come across her snoozing in a soft bed in the Val Jones house, you'll find her a real love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mr Belvedere

Mr Belvedere came in with the same group of cats that includes Mario and Tawny.

photo by Barbara

Like Tawny, he was living in the back pens and it was time spent in a cage for medical treatment that helped him bond with the humans at the sanctuary.

He got his name from Leslie's husband, who was keen to call a cat at the sanctuary Mr. Belvedere. When Mario & Co. were brought in, among them a cat with tuxedo markings suitable for the namesake of the TV butler, Leslie was able to bestow the name as requested.

Although friendly when approached, it's possible to spend quite some time at the sanctuary without getting to know Mr. Belvedere. I was introduced just the other day after Ann happened to come across him and was so taken by his striking looks that she e-mailed me describing her "face across a crowded room" experience with this cat I just had to meet. Leslie looked all over for him for us (for once he was not hanging out with his buddy Tawny), eventually finding him snoozing on top of the cages in the doublewide.

At first he didn't look likely to move from his comfy bed, but before long he climbed on out and then it was all purrs and face rubs.

For anyone who hasn't become acquainted with Mr. Belvedere yet, seek him out. You'll both be very glad you did.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


When a group of cats was trapped in East Vancouver a number of years ago, the tamest of them, our now famous Mario, was kept indoors where staff could work with him further. The other, shier, cats were released into one of the back pens, Tawny among them.

 photo by Barbara

Leslie thinks Tawny may even be Mario's brother - entirely possible since they came from the same place.

RAPS staff did later get a chance to work with Tawny and help him become more comfortable around people when he was ill and had to be caged for treatment. Now, while still a bit on the skittish side, he'll allow himself to be approached. When it comes to people he knows, stroking is quite OK too.

Even so, like Mario, it's still his cat friends he loves best.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This handsome ginger fellow lives in the doublewide trailer at the sanctuary and can often be found on top of the cages.

Danny is a longtime resident of the sanctuary. Leslie remembers when he first came in he was in a cage together with some ferals, so it was unclear whether he was feral himself or just a frightened stray. Either way, it didn't take him long to lose his fear of the humans caring for him.

photo by Barbara

While he seems to like human attention for cuddles' sake well enough, what Danny is most enthusiastic about is food. Teaming up with cats like Dekka (pictured below), Minky and Shadrack, he dances, rubs and generally pulls out all the cuteness stops in a performance put on by the group most evenings at dinnertime. Like Dekka, he's also been known to reach down and paw at the head of a human standing within range if the dance routine alone isn't getting results quite quickly enough for a hungry kitty's taste.

Dekka and Danny
photo by Barbara

Friday, December 3, 2010


photo by Michele

Deanna was trapped on a construction site above the Massey tunnel. Lisa tells the story:

"She and her kittens were being fed out there by the guys who use that spot as a base for the tunnel operations. It is actually the only time I've been scared trapping as one of the guys was NOT HAPPY that we were 'taking' the cats. Fiona (Torbie in the front courtyard) and Schatze (Torbie who got out and is living in the parking lot) are two of her kittens. From the start, Deanna seemed kind of tame- she would watch me set up the trap and would sit not too far away just watching me. 

When she was trapped and put into the Singlewide, it wasn't too long in the cage before she warmed up to people. Unfortunately when we let her out, she was so terrified she found a small hole in a sofa on the porch and stayed there for at least 3 days refusing to come out for food or to use the litterbox. When we finally pulled her out, she got a few more months in the cage to really get used to us. Even now, she is a total sweetheart to those she knows but if there is too much going on in the trailer, she runs behind the cages and won't come out until all is safe. 

Many people have expressed interest in adopting her, but we feel that moving her from a place she knows and has been for several years would be highly traumatic and she would likely be one of those cats who we'd have to go in and fish out from behind the hot water tank, or under the entertainment system. Once a semi-feral, always a semi-feral. Deanna has a lot of volunteers who love her and give her extra special attention."
My first pictures of, and most of my encounters with, Deanna look like this:

She's so friendly and generally up for a cuddle that it's hard to imagine her having been so frightened when taken out of her comfort zone. But then it's hard to picture cheery Esme hiding behind the hot water tank in Lisa's story or cuddly Jenny wedging herself under the entertainment system in what was meant to be her new forever home... Understandably, RAPS staff are reluctant to put Deanna through the same kind of trauma through an adoption attempt.

Fortunately, she's safe and happy at the sanctuary. And all those who love her can - and do - make sure she feels loved and well cared for. 

photo by Barbara

Updated April 29, 2011: I'm sad to report that Deanna has left us to go to the rainbow bridge. She will be missed. Here is a lovely tribute done by RAPS volunteer and Deanna's friend, Michele:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


photo by Barbara

Foxy (sometimes called Silverfox) is one of Val's offspring and lives in the front yard of the sanctuary, where he likes to enjoy a nice sprawl when the weather is fine and the flagstones are warm.

He was trapped along with his mom and siblings by Geri and Val Jones near the airport (read the May 17 post on Val for the full story of how this cat family came to RAPS).

Foxy and Hudson

photo by Barbara

Monday, November 29, 2010


Tootsie is a skinny, deaf little thing who generally acts quite oblivious to both things.

Tootsie was surrendered to RAPS at about the age of 5. The hearing loss which had occurred prior to this had made her so anxious that she began to pee everywhere and often in the home where she was living, to the point that it was impossible to continue keeping her there.

Currently around 12 years old, she looks older due to a thyroid condition (hence the skinny). Leslie says she sometimes gets likened to the Energizer bunny for the way that, despite her age and her health problems, she just keeps going and going.

Updated February 18, 2012: This weekend, we had to say good-bye to this loveable old girl. We'll miss you, sweet funny girl.