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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Tail of Pelly

Not a regular double wide occupant, I met Pelly here as he was being treated for a bad cold. Pelly is from the “farm pen” which is home to an estimated 30 or so stray cats collected by the owner of a farm in Richmond. Reportedly, the man just liked cats but unfortunately neglected to have any of them spayed or neutered so eventually, cats being cats, he could have had a colony big enough to rival the no. 6 road cat sanctuary had RAPS not intervened.

Surprisingly, Pelly is extremely affectionate considering he has never known domestic life. To quote Leslie, he is a “love muffin”. And in true love muffin fashion, he was all over me when I started to pet him, purring and rubbing up against my hands with ever increasing urgency. He seemed decidedly perturbed whenever I stopped petting him to take his picture. Evidently, not a fan of the paparazzi.

The interesting thing about Pelly is his very bendy, hyper mobile tail. As with most cats, the tail goes up as an indication of pleasure or happiness but with Pelly, it doesn’t just stand straight up in the air, but actually cranks right over where it folds flat on his back and coils slightly around his body in a way I’d never seen a cat do before.

I must have been walking around the sanctuary with my eyes closed because Leslie told me that this was not entirely unique to Pelly and some other cats such as Morgan Fairchild, Shelly and Salty do this as with their tails as well. It is even more common in the farm pen as according to Leslie, about four or five of the farm cats all have similar bendy tails, likely because they are all related to each other in some way.

A genetic quirk perhaps? I don’t know, but I have to wonder if those cats at the sanctuary are doing a little midnight yoga after the lights go down and all the two legged cats have gone home.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New regular on the Neko Files

Guest blogger Martha Farnalls will now be a regular contributor to the Neko Files. Look for her on the last posting day of every month.


Identifiable by a missing ear tip and the unique patterns in her eyes, Nikki is one of the sanctuary old timers.

Gaye tells me that Nikki had been adopted out at one point, but was returned after a day or two. Apparently, the lady who took her home had the new arrival sitting on her lap when a garbage truck rumbled by outside. Startled, Nikki did as most cats would do in this situation and leaped from the woman's lap to get away from the noise, digging her claws in for purchase as she went. The woman must have never experienced being a launching pad for a frightened kitty, because a call to RAPS had Carol going over there and bringing Nikki back to the shelter.

These days, Nikki is an older girl with not much in the way of teeth (which I noticed when she decided to alternately lick and gnaw on my hand), but more than a few friends. When I first met her, she was weaving around, playing and cuddling with Mr. Belvedere, her boyfriend du jour.

Nikki and Mr. Belvedere

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


 photo by Barbara

Shy, pretty tortie Psyche is the sister of Bunny, found by a Bunsmaster Bakery along with their brother Baker (who has since passed away).

Still preferring to perch up on top of the cages, Psyche didn't grow into a people lover like Bunny did. More of a people-tolerater: you may look, feed and even photograph, but push the contact issue and you may be rebuffed (as I was) with a light but assertive smack.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Long time sanctuary resident Spunky has the distinction of being the first cat Leslie ever tamed.

photo by Barbara

Spunky came in as a feral kitten along with brother Shadow in the singlewide and a sister who was later adopted. To help get this little family of wild kittens more used to people, Leslie would take into their cage a toy made up of a pole with dangly things on the end. Spunky in particular loved it so much that she forgot all about being a feral kitten. She just wanted to play with the toy. This show of spunk early on earned her her name.

She grew up into a lovely, friendly adult, but with so many cats at the sanctuary demanding attention, for a long time people didn't always get a real chance to get to know who this particular tabby was. Now 11 - 12 years old, Spunky is hyperthyroid. Ironically, the fact that she needs to be sought out twice daily to be given her medication has helped more people get to know her and see just what a great personality she has.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More graceless kitties?

Oh, yes!

Due to the immediate popularity of yesterday's post, All hail the graceless kitty, I will be doing Part II!

Anyone connected with the RAPS cat sanctuary who has any extra goofy shots they'd like to share, send them my way and I'll be very pleased to include them.
(very, very pleased - I think I've used up all my own funnies in the last post)


Friday, May 20, 2011

All hail the graceless kitty

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this"  ~ Anon.

Cats may not have forgotten, but those who interact with them on a daily basis may now and again (and again and again) get to see that mask of regal aloofness slip a bit.

For your entertainment a blooper reel, er, photo essay of some of our sanctuary friends' less graceful moments.

A big thanks to Ann for the idea.

Abby: upside down and doesn't care who knows it

Tootsie with food on her nose... as usual

photo by Phaedra

photo by Phaedra

Andy, posing for Playcat
photo by Phaedra

Diablo - "Eat. Play. Fall Over."

Gunther, seconds away from giving the paparazzi stink eye

Logan. Because he can
photo by Michele

Zoe, trying to sell us on the idea that this position is remotely comfortable

Charlie: "You're taking a picture of me? Neat! Can I watch?"
photo by Michele

Ricky and his "drool man chu"

Arnie: "Here's lookin' at you, kid."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Long time sanctuary resident Kenny came to RAPS in 2003.

photo provided by RAPS

One of a group of feral adults and kittens living under a bridge in Ladner, Kenny (along with another cat in the group called Emily) was named by RAPS in honor of the couple who'd been feeding and looking out for the colony. The couple themselves had called him Laddy. They trapped the cats and RAPS agreed to take them.

Initially wild as you'd expect a feral adult to be, Kenny had a chance to get more used to up-close human contact when he was brought inside for a dental. What he found easiest to get used to was being given all sorts of nice food. This, he liked.

photo by Barbara

Then Janice befriended him and was able to start him thinking that being picked up could be rather nice. And so he began to come to others wanting to be fed and to Janice wanting to be picked up.

Since then, he's lost first one and then the other of the big fangs that were such a prominent feature of early photos of him, but he does not appear to have let this cramp his style. He doesn't even take offense at Ann's nickname for him of "Kenny No Fang."
Too busy being friendly, I guess. Yes, this boy has turned into quite the people lover.

Updated October 17, 2011: Kenny left us on Saturday night, passing away quietly in his sleep. Sad as it is to know we won't be seeing him around anymore, if you've got to go, this has got to be the gentlest, nicest way to do it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cisco (aka Cisco Kid)

We so often hear stories of people who really do mean to come and visit a cat they've surrendered or a stray they've been feeding, only to find that after not so very much time has passed that life just kind of gets in the way and the need to visit doesn't seem quite so immediate and pressing anymore.

Given the rather poor ratio of promises to visits we often see, it's a wonderful thing to come across a story of a person who went above and beyond in visiting as promised.

Cisco, aka Cisco Kid, had been hanging around the yard of a woman named Carol for some time. The little manx cat didn't seem to belong to anyone and so Carol brought him in to RAPS.

This was in 2004.

Seven years later, Carol still comes every Sunday to visit him and her other faves at the sanctuary. Promise kept? I think so!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Meowy came to RAPS in 2007 with her sister Puffy. Their owner had become homeless and was living out of his car, so had to surrender them to the shelter. He'd hoped to be able to take them back once his situation improved, but for one reason or another he wasn't able in the end to make good on his promise to his cats and the sanctuary became their home.

Meowy by Barbara

Puffy by Phaedra

Puffy, who has the distinction of being Ann's sister's first sponsor cat, has unfortunately since passed away. Meowy is still very much with us and can often be found hanging out on some comfy perch in the laundry room.

Now around 10 years old or more, Meowy can be told apart from the other tabbies roaming around the doublewide and environs by her expressively raspy meow. There may even be a note on her file noting the "smoker's cough" of a voice that seems to be the norm for her. Whether given by accident or by design, the name Meowy suits her well.

Updated July 2012: After an illness, Meowy is sadly no longer with us. We'll all miss her face and distinctive meow.


Pretty little black Vicki is sometimes referred to as "Vicki from Vernon" after the rather unusual story of her arrival.

Around two years ago, when a truck which had been loaded in Vernon arrived in Richmond for unloading, a young black cat was found inside. She was brought to RAPS and efforts were made to find out who she belonged to, but to no avail. And so the cat sanctuary became her home.

For the first year she was at RAPS, Vicki was quite shy and could most often be seen camped out on top of the cages where she could safely stare at us without any of us being able to get near her. In the last eight months to a year though, she's really started to come around. Now she's a sweet girl who loves her cuddles.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blundell (aka Dell)

Blundell came to the sanctuary via the No. 5 Rd. shelter. Already frightened and hostile on finding himself in the alien environment of the city shelter, his impression of humans was made even worse by an unfortunate encounter with a nervous volunteer and a broom.

He is now living in the singlewide trailer in a large cage lined with towels and blankets where he has plenty of places to hide.

Although curious to see him, I didn't exactly have high hopes of a sighting when I went to visit him a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, I found an impressive cat fort complete with warning signs, but no sign of the cat himself.

Today, two weeks later, I was able to at last get a view of our most recent addition to the very angry kitty club. One of his hiding spots may protect him from all eyes inside the singlewide, but the window onto the porch out the back affords an interesting view:

At first I tried to get a "better" shot, one without reflections of a couple of people in the glare. In the end, though, I'm glad I got this particular shot. It makes me think a bit of how a cat like Blundell must see us - not as a couple of volunteers and animal lovers who only want to ensure his comfort and safety, but as some sort of shadowy, two-headed monster looming before him, intentions unknown.

Here's a photo that Phaedra managed to get today from within the lion's den. She, as would we all, would love to see him mellow out. A plan of action? Wonder if he likes chicken...

 "Dell" by Phaedra

Friday, May 6, 2011


Mitchell is a sweetheart of a tabby who lives in the singlewide at the sanctuary. He was trapped in Steveston a couple of years ago as part of the same litter of feral kittens that gave us Mary. Their feral mom and aunt live in the rear yard of the sanctuary.

baby Mitchell
photo by Phaedra

Mitch tamed up nicely and is quite happy to interact with his human friends. According to Leslie, not only does he love laps, but this "wide-eyed monkey loves to scratch on the tops of people's running shoes, probably because he's attracted to the shoelaces."

I haven't witnessed the running shoe playing myself, but I have experienced some shoe sitting. It's an amusing sight to feel a gentle pressure on your foot and then to look down to see this cat neatly parked there and looking brightly back up at you.

Mitch is a particular favorite of volunteer Michele, who gets to spend some quality time with him every week during her shift in the building where he lives.

Here are a few of her pictures of him:

 photo by Michele

 photo by Michele

Mitch and Deanna
photo by Michele

Mitch was almost adopted out a little while back as a companion for a woman's cat, but she unexpectedly had to take in another cat and was unable to have more than two. Mitch is still a very adoptable boy. Leslie says he would be a great companion to another young cat or two.

Updated September 19, 2011: We're all very saddened by the sudden illness and passing of sweet Mitchell this weekend. Below is a lovely tribute created by Michele, with whom he was close.