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.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Yoda was surrendered to RAPS a number of years ago. A friendly, attractive boy, Leslie says they had no trouble finding him an adoptive home. Unfortunately, it didn't work out and the people eventually returned him, citing "soiling problems."

We're not sure what set this off, but Leslie suspects there may have been other animals in the home. For cats who are picky with the company they keep, having to deal with unwanted furry roommates can sometimes prove intolerable. And Yoda is not overfond of other cats.

Is he a known sprayer at the sanctuary? No, says Leslie. "I've never seen him spray at our place. Maybe he thinks there's no point. His wonderful personal scent would just be overwhelmed by everyone else's!"

Her thought is that he'd be "a wonderful cat friend for someone with no other pets."
He would make a wonderful cat friend - always inquisitive, friendly and up for a cuddle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Lola has a distinctive face with two different coloured eyes.
Another point of note: despite what one may be led to expect with a name like Lola, this cat is a he.

Shannon remembers a sign on his cage when he first came to the shelter a year or so ago stating that yes, the boy's name is Lola and that we shouldn't change it because the people who'd had to surrender him hoped to come and visit him.

It turns out that Lola was named for the song by The Kinks, a song I didn't know as well as I thought I did, having never really listened to the last verse which goes:

Well I'm not the world's most masculine man
But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man
And so is Lola
La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola

Monday, January 25, 2010


Named for the model Twiggy, this little black cat came to RAPS years ago as a skinny little thing with tiny little kittens who, very sadly, didn't make it.

Despite this rough start in life, she's doing well in her life at the sanctuary. When Gaye introduced me to her today, all I had to do was smile and she went like this...

... and then this--

For anyone who hasn't had a chance to get to know Twiggy and would like to, you can tell her apart from the multitude of other black cats at the sanctuary by the little white dots on her nose.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Squirrel is a handsome boy who came to the sanctuary when he was around 8 months old. He apparently has an identical twin who was adopted out... upwards of 10 years ago! According to Leslie, "Squirrel has happily gallivanted around the back area of the sanctuary since then.  He used to run into every pen when volunteers opened the gates.  A nuisance like Sadie."

These days Squirrel leaves the pen/cage sneaking and general volunteer hassling to other cats, or at least he doesn't try it on my watch. Most often I see him comfortably lounging on a big cat bed on this shelf, either on his own or in the company of nap & cuddle buddies like Princess. He likes his cat buddies, but he's always quite open to throwing a little human cuddle time into the mix.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Phoebe is another one of those cats sporting a collar that will help visitors recognize her as a potential swatter. In her case the collar is a cheery red one with a bit of bling that sets off her glossy black coat.

photo provided by RAPS

What visitors may not know about Phoebe is that she's actually very fond of people and would welcome a cuddle. What she does not like, and what will set off the bouts of ill temper suggested by the warning collar, is other cats. Unfortunately, at the sanctuary it's hard to spend time with her without any number of furry interlopers trying to muscle in on the attention she's getting. And Phoebe is very much the jealous sort who does not play well with others.

But if you can give her a little lap time to herself, you may just be rewarded with this:

For anyone looking for a pretty, furry friend who would be deeply grateful to live in a one-cat household, this is your girl!

Update March 29, 2010 - Phoebe has been adopted!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Congratulations, Pearl

Pearl first came to us as a starved young thing, skinny and scruffy, but no less full of purrs for it. It's been heartening watching her fill out and return to good health. And of course those purrs just kept coming. We knew there must be somebody out there who would take one look at her and see she's exactly what they wanted. 

I'm delighted to report that Pearl has been adopted and went home with her new family yesteday. We miss her already, but are so glad she now has a home with people who will love her.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's time to pass on the crown of covercat for The Neko Files header. For the past few months we've been enjoying the adorably quizzical face of Mary, one of the cats in the single wide.

Here is the original, unedited photo:

Mary is a photogenic cat who actually seems to like getting her picture taken. Or at least she finds the crazy biped holding a box interesting enough to stick around and stare at. She hasn't let me touch her yet, but she's quite content to let me get as many shots as I care to.

Leslie tells me she's named after the lady "who fed and then captured her feral litter in Steveston about 1 1/2 years ago." She also says that while Mary will sometimes let her stroke her, she's still a timid girl who will often run away.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Harley is one of those cats whose timidity can fool you into thinking he's not tame. I first met him back in October when I was taking pictures of cats in the back yard. He was willing to let me come close enough to take his picture, but not enough to touch him. And with so many other cats aggressively campaigning for me to pat and pay attention to them, I didn't push him for more.

The spell of cold weather we had a little while ago lured a lot of the cats who usually stay out back into the warmth of the trailers. And so it was that I looked up from my food and water duties the other night to find this little face peering down at me.

He scooted away the first time I tried approaching him, but after the second we quickly progressed to this--

-- and this.

I learned afterward from Leslie that Harley is indeed a friendly cat, though he can be timid with people he doesn't know well. He's around 3 years old and is one of 3 siblings who've been at the sanctuary since they were kittens.

And the name? Leslie says she "named Harley after another cat that we had years ago. That cat's name was Harley and he was quite a character. And when this kitten showed up, I thought 'Oh wow, he looks just like Harley.'"

It also seems that Harley's becoming less and less timid with people as he spends more time inside. And the more people realize he's friendly and go spend a little time with him, the better he'll be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Spike's a cat who's constantly underfoot and yet I only just met him the other day. Why? Because his very favorite place to be underfoot is in the med cage.

Leslie was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy evening meds schedule to tell me about her little "helper"...
"Spike was a feral that came from a colony of about a dozen feral cats being fed by an elderly gentleman. The man sold his property to a developer and they tore down the house to put up townhouses. We were called in to trap the cats by the salesperson for the townhouses who had seen them. Spike was very wild -- he almost killed me from inside his box when he was first in a cage and I tried to put in my hand to peek at him. This was about 4 years ago.

He used to live on top of the cages [where the feral cats often like to stay], but he eventually became very time. It did take a long time though. And he's decided he wants to be in the med cage.... all the time, if I'm there, so that I will give him food. His favorite is tuna, but he'll eat just about anything that I put on a plate. He has me totally trained. He sticks his claws in my leg just like Prince does as he tries to get my attention and I have to either grab him and push him out of the cage or give him something to eat."

"He's one of two cats who like to be in the med cage with me. The other's a pure white one called Lumi. They're both very fast. So if I throw them out, by the time I can close the door they're back in. They're really funny. What Spike does when he sees I'm going to try and move him, is he'll quickly run under the stool as if to say 'Look, look, I'm just going to go and lie down on my bed. You don't really want to throw me out of here. I won't bother you!' And so I leave him and go fix up the medicines, and the next thing I know, my leg's getting ripped."

It's funny how various cats will pick their favorite human sucker... Spike knows that a cute face like the one in the photo above will always win him Leslie's forgiveness for the odd overenthusiastic claw, while Lincoln, another med cage moocher, knows that Gaye never really means it when she says he's had all the tuna he's going to get.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Dusty is a recent arrival at the sanctuary. I'm afraid I can't say much about his life up until now, as he came to us one night in late December when a member of staff found him in a cardboard box that someone had left by the stairs of the kitten trailer, a building that borders on the parking lot.

Meeting Dusty, it's hard to imagine him being abandoned on a doorstep. He's so cheerful and friendly, for a start, that the idea of anybody deciding the didn't want him is hard to fathom. And perhaps it's a function of his cheerful disposition as well, but he's entirely unphased by the change in living environment. I heard from Gaye that he needed little or no adjustment period to get used to life at the sanctuary (compare this to the cats who need days or weeks in the safety of a cage before they're ready to accept the idea that they live in a cat group home rather than a human family home).

He's definitely a cat who knows how to make is own fun. When I went to visit him, he'd found a toy mouse that he was absolutely enthralled with and spent most of the time pouncing on it or flinging it over his head. He was quite pleased to spend some time with me as well... as long as I agreed to play mouse with him.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Huey & Hannah: Part II

Huey and Hannah both have the same background story, but they each lobbied for their own post.

Here's Huey.

Like Hannah, Huey was a feral who became tame over time thanks to the efforts of the woman who took him in. When her situation changed, he came to live at the RAPS sanctuary. According to Lisa, "When they were in the cage adjusting to life at the shelter it was Hannah who was the friendliest, but now that they are out Hannah seems overwhelmed by all the cats and Huey is the friendliest. He has proved himself to be a real doll."

Huey can still come across as a bit skittish, so for the longest time I didn't realize he was tame. When I paused too long near him, he'd stare at me with these wide eyes, ready to bolt if I came even a step closer.

After getting that kind of reaction more than once, I was surprised how little it took to get him trotting towards me instead of away. A gentle smile, an outstretched hand, and over he comes. And after that, the only kind of picture I could get of him was like the one at the beginning of this post: quite contentedly underfoot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Huey & Hannah: Part I

Huey and Hannah both have the same background story, but their personalities are so different that I'm going to devote one posting to each.

For today, Hannah.

The story, from Lisa (originally published in The Love Blog, July 2009:
"Huey and Hannah: These two cats came to us from a woman who loves them very much. Unfortunately, she has some health issues and needed to move out of the basement suite where she was living. Her sisters found her a beautiful apartment but unfortunately it was not pet friendly. These cats were feral (wild) strays that had come into her yard and she tamed them slowly but surely. When they were in the cage adjusting to life at the shelter it was Hannah who was the friendliest, but now that they are out Hannah seems overwhelmed by all the cats and Huey is the friendliest. He has proved himself to be a real doll."
Even if Hannah is not entirely sure what to make of all those other cats, she has certainly remained friendly with people - to the extent that it's surprising to hear that she spent the early part of her life as a feral.

A warning about Hannah: her favorite form of greeting can be by way of an ambush. She's fond of leaping onto shoulders, occasionally from a height, and rarely with a concern whether her intentions have been noted. I was introduced to Hannah late last spring when she suddenly took a flying leap at me from a high shelf. This wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that she misjudged the angle, failed to get a proper purchase on my shoulders and so proceeded to slide down my back, claws extended. Ow...
Next time, I was ready for her and we had a good old cuddle.

For those who feel in any way threatened by the prospect of a flying tabby, even one who comes in peace, memorize the face in these photos and look for the warning signs. The body language shown below is an excellent example of Hannah posture approximately 10 seconds pre-leap.

June 2017 - after years of living at the Sanctuary, Hannah has been adopted!
Be happy, little one!

Monday, January 4, 2010


Prince is one of the more enthusiastic of the sanctuary's self-appointed greeters. Barbara refers to him as the "Leg Tapper," but with me he has on occasion gone beyond tapping into something approaching "Leg Grabber" territory. Perhaps he realized he had to compete Sadie for my time.

He's so amiable, though, that it's impossible to hold these demands for attention against him. And he does genuinely love being patted.

A prince of a cat? A case could be made, but as it turns out, his name comes from the place he was found. 
Prince's story, from Leslie (originally published in The Love Blog in July, 2009):
"Prince is named for Princess Street in Steveston. An artist named Jan Corkin with a studio in Steveston discovered a colony of around 20 young feral cats and began feeding them. She became concerned about their welfare when she learned that a custodian of a nearby building wanted to get rid of them. Jan feared the cats would be harmed. She contacted RAPS and we were able to successfully trap the mother and all of her offspring. The cats are now living happily at the sanctuary and most remain feral. Prince, however, has become very friendly to people because we kept him in a cage for awhile in order to socialize him."

Prince is so very friendly with people that, as Love Blogger Barbara has found as well, it can be hard to snatch a good photo when he's constantly in motion with his cat dance of joy. I only managed to get these last two photos after he climbed up on a high shelf where he couldn't reach me without expending way too much energy for a cat who's just found a comfy place to sit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Even for those who may consider themselves at least passably fluent in feline, cats can sometimes be a bit hard to figure.

The signs providing information on any cats being kept in cages will sometimes include a note warning that this particular inmate is especially determined to get the heck out of that cage at the first opportunity. This is understandable. We don't tend to think of cats as really relishing the idea of a cage. And then we see cats like Aurora, who have no interest in leaving the cage once the door has been left open -- indefinitely. And then there is Charmin, who can't seem to resist scooting into any and every cage at the first opportunity. When I'm opening the doors to various cages at dinnertime, she'll often appear by my feet, looking for an opening to slip in far more eagerly than the cat on the other side is looking to zip out.

As far as distinguishing characteristics go, Charmin's other one doesn't require the opening of a cage door to notice:

Yes, another member of the RAPS one-eyed cat club. 

Here's her story, told by Leslie (originally published in The Love Blog, July 2009):
"Charmin, our one-eyed Persian, was surrendered to RAPS as a high-strung young cat many years ago. We found a loving home for her, but her situation deteriorated a couple of years later. The young couple had a baby and then decided to get a puppy. All of that activity was too much for Charmin, and she started to urinate around her home. RAPS has a policy of always taking back the animals we adopt, and Charmin has a permanent home at our sanctuary."

I'm told that Charmin originally came to us with the full ocular complement, but somewhere along the way suffered a rupture of the right eye, leaving her with just the left. Persian cats can be particularly prone to eye problems due to the shape of their faces.

This doesn't seem to stop Charmin from doing any of the things she wants to do, though, from presenting herself to available visitors or volunteers for a little attention to conducting regular inspections of any cages she can wrangle access to. Always making sure she's not missing out on a thing.