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, October 29, 2010


Tiny came from the same home that brought us Creampuff. Even so, Tiny didn't have much time for her elder housemate when they both found themselves installed in the kitten trailer upon their arrival at the sanctuary. Apparently, there may have even been some slapping involved.

According to Ann, Tiny used to have much more in common with Rita than she did with Creampuff when it came to her enthusiastic dislike of other cats. She's mellowed with time, though, and has been seen to let another cat pass by her without expressing her displeasure with a swat and an emphatic voice that Ann likens to Bette Davis.

One this Tiny does like is attention from humans. A cuddle and a nice warm lap to curl up in, and she's a happy girl. But Ann says she's another one of those cats who tend to get passed over. Curse of the black cat strikes again?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update: Arnie

When we first met Arnie back in May, he was not a happy boy.

What a difference a few months makes. The days of hunching in a cage with flattened ears and a mistrustful glare are over. Now his eyes are bright, his coat well-groomed, and his ears in a much more contented position.

Even cleaned up, he still looks older than our Greyson, though, leading us to think Arnie may well be his father rather than his brother.

Whatever his position in this particular cat family tree, it really is great to see Arnie looking so much better after being at the sanctuary than he did when he first came to us. Happy adoption stories may be our favorites, but these smaller happinesses feel like great successes as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sophie, Hiro and Miko

I was introduced to a wild mama today by the name of Sophie.


She was brought in to the sanctuary as a pregnant feral and gave birth to her litter in the kitten trailer. In a room at the other end of the trailer were some older kittens who'd been trapped earlier. Describing this to me, Leslie remembers how surprised she was when Carol told her that Sophie was in fact the mother of both litters.

When the older kittens were reintroduced to their mother, who they'd not seen for a number of months, there was no question whether they remembered her or not. A cuddle-fest ensued. Most of the kittens were later adopted out, but brother and sister Hiro and Miko remained at the sanctuary. They can still often be seen nearby their mom.

Hiro & Mary

Tabby Hiro's a little nervous around people, but black Miko loves a good cuddle. Today, she spent a good amount of time wriggling around on top of the cage where she was perched, anxious to demonstrate her immense cuddleability.


Sophie's still a bit wild but, if pressed, will make an effort to allow herself to be stroked. Some time spend in a cage receiving attention from animal care staff a while back seems to have helped her get more used to people. Now, even if she does give in to the urge to swat, she will (at least in my experience) limit herself to a light slap on the wrist.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I was introduced to Jemima earlier this week by her human friend and fan, Kim.

Since posting Zanda's story, I've talked with various people at the sanctuary about how we feel we should try to befriend some of the black cats who are always being overlooked. Kim introduced Jemima as her chosen black cat.

photo provided by Kim

Jemima came to the sanctuary from the No. 5 Road shelter after test results showed exposure to coronavirus (CoV). This is apparently not uncommon in shelter cats. However, a mutated form of CoV can lead to Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is fatal.

Added to the fact that Jemima's coat colour already puts her lower on the list of cats potential adopters are likely looking for, the possibility - even a remote one - of health problems down the road made shelter staff decided she may be a better candidate for the sanctuary than the adoption centre.

Jemima is an absolutely delightful little cat and I'm really glad to have met her. I was worried we wouldn't recognize each other when I went to find her on my own, but when I looked for her on the back porch of the singlewide, she soon came running out to greet me.

After that, the biggest challenge was getting a photo of her that didn't feature my feet as she repeatedly danced and wove her way around my ankles. Kim's had similar difficulties: "Hard to take photos when she's on my lap." she says.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The latest addition to the New AIDS room gang, Smokey looks very much like a scruffy grey version of Tugboat.

No relation, though!

Smokey was found and brought in by an individual who has brought RAPS a number of strays over the years.

After receiving the vet check-up given to all new arrivals, Smokey was found to be FIV positive and hyperthyroid. On top of that, he's got mouth ulcers.

Even so, he's a gentle, friendly boy who is delighted to get a visit and a cuddle.

Updated March 7, 2012: Smokey left for the rainbow bridge last weekend. This sweet boy will be missed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bonnie Boy

A while back, two feral kittens, sister and brother, were brought in to the sanctuary together. They were given the names Bonnie & Clyde. One, Bonnie, tamed up quite readily, while the other wasn't so interested in fraternizing with humanfolk.

It was only after returning from a trip to the vet that staff and volunteers realized the friendly girl kitty they'd been thinking of as Bonnie was actually the boy, Clyde. By that time, though, the name had stuck. And so Bonnie came to be known as Bonnie Boy.

photo by Michele

Bonnie Boy lives in the single wide trailer and continues to be a most personable cat.

photo by Phaedra

Recently, he's decided I'm to be one of his buddies and has launched a campaign of determined friendliness. He is more than willing to follow, weave, dance and pose for photo ops if there's a chance it might get him on my "must visit" list for the single wide. Somehow, I suspect I'm not the only person he's suckered into being a fan and regular visitor....

photo by Michele

Friday, October 15, 2010


When Leslie introduced me to this friendly black cat as "Dempster from the Dumpster," I wasn't sure what to make of the name. It turns out that the dumpster in question was simply one that Carol found the stray hanging around near while she made the rounds of her feeding sites.

photo by Barbara Doduk

Dempster has been at the sanctuary since the early days of the facility. Leslie says he tends to get overlooked these days because not everyone can easily identify which of our many black cats he is. He used to have a human friend who chose him as a favorite and would make a point of seeking him out, but the person had to stop coming regularly to the sanctuary, to the disappointment of Dempster. 

I must confess I didn't know who Dempster was myself until I was trying to photograph Cha Cha and this black cat suddenly appeared on top of the cages and kept muscling in on the action - dancing into the shot, waving his tail in my face and generally making an endearing kind of nuisance out of himself. I could do nothing but cave in, pay attention to and take pictures of him instead. Dempster was delighted... Cha Cha less so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cha Cha

Cha Cha originally came from a feral colony living near Princess Street in Steveston.

 photo by Barbara Doduk

After being trapped and brought to the RAPS sanctuary, she was put in one of the back pens along with the rest of the Princess Street cats. Cha Cha did not care for these accommodations, though, and managed to escape into the sanctuary proper.

With some cats, too early a departure from a space where they're obliged to regularly interact with humans can result in them never losing their feral suspiciousness. Cha Cha proved far too curious about people to stay away long. Instead, she turned out to be one of those cats who gradually but quite of their own volition become tame.

Leslie remembers how Marianne named her Cha Cha because of the way she would dance when she was feeling affectionate. Marianne adds that this dancing happened when Cha Cha was happily following her favorite person... Leslie.

Cha Cha may have settled down a bit now that she's older, but she's no less of a cutie and still likes a visit. 

photo by Barbara Doduk

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adoptions: Mika, Angel & Snowball

For the Thanksgiving weekend, it seems appropriate to post on sanctuary news we always feel thankful for: the finding of a forever home for one or more of our residents. This month we've been able to bid farewell and good luck to three sanctuary cats.

Happy, high energy, other cat slapping Mika has now found a home where she can enjoy human company without having to smack her way through all the feline riffraff in the front courtyard to make sure she gets her fair share (i.e. all) of the love on offer.

The other adoption story has a personal connection for me, since after adopting mother and son duo Daphne and Leo, I always felt a little pang at having had to leave sister Angel behind. Now, not only has Angel found a home, but she was able to be placed with her friend and former housemate from her pre-sanctuary days, Snowball.

The last time I saw Angel before she went home, she was more animated and cheerful than I've ever seen her. She purred, she rubbed, she head butted and she danced. As much as I try to be wary of projecting human thoughts on a feline brain, I couldn't help wondering if she knew something was up - something good.

photo by Debbie

Friday, October 8, 2010


Brinkley spent half of his estimated 10 years of life as a stray being fed by people near Francis and No. 1 Road. 

"Very sweet once he trusts you" says the sign on Brinkley's door, to which someone has added "That takes 10 seconds."

Going to visit him this week for the first time, I wasn't sure what to expect. He didn't look too impressed when I said hello to him from outside his cage; then he went on to sit - pointedly, I thought - with his back to me when I entered.

But he let me stroke him without a fuss, and Barb reported from her vantage point outside the cage that he was actually kneading the air with his paws as his feet dangled over the edge of his perch.

Then he turned around and began the cuddling in earnest. Somewhere along the way between almost eliciting a hiss when I walked in and getting treated to rubs and head butts at the present moment, I'd missed the memo that the 10 seconds were up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Miss Kitty

15 year old Miss Kitty was brought to the sanctuary at the end of September.

For many years, this pretty calico stray had been fed by people living in a west Richmond home. Now they are moving, so Miss Kitty has come to live with us.

She's settled in quite quickly, nestled comfortably on some nice, soft bedding in our seniors section. She seems to understand that's among friends and can be quickly set to purring and head rubbing with little more encouragement than a smile and a gentle hand.

Updated December 2, 2011:  Not long ago Ann, volunteer and longtime Miss Kitty fan, was finally able to give this sweet old girl the gift of a home to spend her remaining days in. The arrangement was a delight to both. Sadly, the days Miss Kitty had remaining to her turned out to be few in number, so her stay with Ann was a much shorter one than hoped.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Breaking news: motion to ban sale of dogs in storefronts a success!

Tonight, the motion to ban the sale of dogs in storefronts was unanimously passed by the City of Richmond, making Richmond the first city in Canada to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores.

This follows on the council's decision in February of this year to ban the sale of rabbits in Richmond and is a big win for local animal protection groups.

Cats are not on the table as of yet, but with rabbits and dogs included now, we're one step closer to making sure fewer cats like Logan end up living at the sanctuary because people could too easily buy a cat without thinking it through.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Update: RAPS alumni Alec

Back in April, Alec was an anxious newcomer living in the Connor building and trying to decide if humans were really scary or just kind of scary. Marianne was able to get close enough to discover he was quite fond of tummy rubs, but with many others he preferred to stare from a comfortable distance.

Stephanie, who already had one semi-feral cat at home, was undaunted by the idea of a cat who'd need a lot of patience and love before he became trusting and loving in return. And so in July, she took Alec home to live with her and her other cat, Honey.

We've been tracking Alec's progress on Stephanie's Facebook page as he settles in and negotiates peace with Honey. Here are a few selections from her posts:

"Alec is 'home'. Doesn't appear to be upset. Sitting on the window sill."

"Honey has mounted guard outside the mesh door to where Alec is living!"

"Just had a visit with Alec and managed to tempt him with Max Cat Dry... he ate about 6 pieces, it's a start! He sat on the chair below the window and thought about jumping up to hide behind the curtains, but he resisted and he had a good chin rub.
Honey is watching him from the door again!"

"This a.m. couldn't see Alec. I wondered where he was. He usually sits in the window or on the chair. I noticed some movement under bed covers. There he was all curled up and comfy."

"I think there is a breakthrough with Honey and Alec. Honey is starting to tolerate him! She was on the couch watching him play with her toy mouse. Still chases him but not always. He is very quick on his feet!"

"Looks like I'm going to have to change furniture around in Living Room. Alec and Honey have taken up all the couch! I'm stuck sitting at the computer."

 Alec (left) and Honey (right)
photo provided by Stephanie

So it seems that Alec has settled in quite nicely. As for the Alec/Honey truce, that may be a work in progress for a little while yet. Responding to comments about the picture above, Stephanie says that at the time, "Honey was settling down for her afternoon nap and not very energetic. Both are feral, Honey about 85% tame and Alec I think is about 35% tame. Honey is ready to give chase any time now."