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, December 26, 2011

brief holiday break

Hello all,

The Neko Files will be taking a short break this week to recuperate from a hectic lead up to Christmas. Next post will be on Monday, January 2, 2012.

Wishing everyone all the best for 2012!

- Claire

Boxing Day photo -- Leo employing cat logic: 
He vigorously resists crating, 
wails all the way in the car to Victoria
and wails all the way back. 
After an hour or two at home, 
he voluntarily climbs back into his crate 
and curls up for a nap.
He doesn't feel there's anything odd in this.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice for yesterday, and a good old all around Season's Greetings from the Neko Files!

Don't forget to give your pet a cuddle this weekend (and everyday).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've noticed this big, good-looking grey tabby on top of the cages in the doublewide many times. He's noticed me too, but our interaction has never gotten past his curiosity turned briefly to look of wide-eyed horror shortly before fleeing if I try to reach up and touch so much as the tip of his nose.

I finally asked Leslie who this handsome boy was and discovered that his name is Matty and he's the brother to the equally handsome brown tabby, Duke (formerly Beastly) and their sister Jellybean. They all came to the sanctuary as young ferals, which explains the boys' reluctance when it comes to human contact. I've yet to meet Jellybean, but hear her are of operation is similar to Matty's and suspect her position re. people may be much the same as his.

Leslie tells me that there was a brief period of time in which Matty had started to allow her to pet him, but something must have happened to scare him because she suddenly found that permission had been revoked. I'm thinking that if he was brought around once, with a little effort he can be brought around again.

Sounds like time for another win-over-the-kitty campaign. Who's in?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mini update: Jake

Not long after I posted about Jake last winter, his health had deteriorated to the point that our vet advised us to consider having him put down. He'd gotten incredibly skinny and his kidneys were going, so it really looked like he might not have much time left. But when it came down to making the final call on his fate, RAPS staff saw a cat who still had a good appetite and just didn't seem "ready."

And so Jake was given the meds he needed to make sure he was comfortable, and he was given a bit more time before anyone made any life or death decisions on his behalf. Still, there was very much a feeling that we should make an effort to enjoy his company while we could.

I'm posting about him today because he was there when I was giving the cats in the doublewide their evening meal, first watching me and then doing some fairly spirited mooching. Though still on borrowed time, Jake seems to have decided to borrow himself quite a bit, as he's rallied remarkably over the past months. And now, close to a year after that grim prognosis, here he is with us still. He's put on a little bit of weight and is generally looking perkier and more bright-eyed, thanks to the efforts of the RAPS med staff giving him any extra care he needs and, at least in some small part, to his own strength of spirit. 

And did I let him get away with mooching from the plates of wet food as I prepared them? You bet. Plus all the pats he could ask for.

Updated January 2012: Sadly, Jake's amazing rally came to an end a few short weeks after this post. He was loved and will be missed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update: The New, Improved Combo

Back in the summer, I was delighted when lunge & hiss king Combo #5 let me come within a few feet of where he was sitting without bothering to give me more than a lazy hiss. But this, it turns out is nothing compared to the progress he's made more recently.

Marianne's patient, tenacious efforts to make friends with him have shown what might turn out to be his gentler side and, perhaps... a bit of a foot fetish?

Here's what Marianne had to say about her experience with our new, improved Combo:
Some time during the past year, he had to have some teeth removed, including those very scary top fangs. As a result, he doesn't look nearly as vicious anymore when he hisses. In fact, he isn't as vicious anymore. One can now approach up to a foot or so away from him without being lunged or hissed at, a great improvement over being threatened from across the room!
And, get this, he's decided that contact with a stockinged foot is actually kind of nice! I can't remember how this came about for the first time, but for the past few weeks, he's let me sit near him and rub him with my foot. I think there was even a bit of a purr the other day, or maybe that was just my foot trembling in anticipation of the slash that never came. While I'm not yet willing to risk my hand in the same way (even covered in a sock, although I've considered that), I have high hopes for the old boy. He's come a long, long way! 

The lactose-free milk Marianne's holding in the first photo as apparently an excellent way to get on Combo's good side. It even inspired Marianne to be brave enough to try a little rub on the side of his face with her finger while he drank. This he found acceptable, though Marianne's OK-to-pat pass was valid only as long as he was busy draining his saucer. After that, he felt it was important to go back to growling and hissing (a cat's got a reputation to uphold, after all).

While quality time with Combo may still be best left to experienced cat whisperers (or people with Kevlar socks) for the present, this old boy is definitely making progress. Maybe one day he'll dispense with the hiss altogether and just go straight to the purr.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Picadilly (aka Dilly)

Picadilly, often called Dilly for short, came to RAPS as a frightened youngster along with her sister, who I believe was named Chelsea (both Picadilly and Chelsea being areas in the city of London). The sister was adopted, while Dilly, the shyer of the two, remained at RAPS.

She was brought to my attention recently for having apparently performed the fabled feat of catdom - peeing in the toilet. The people toilet, that is, not the usual litter-filled cat version. Impressive!

When I met her on Monday night, Dilly was indeed in the bathroom just off the tearoom, but she was just enjoying a nap on one of the shelves. I hear this is one of her hanging out spots of choice.

It's hard to imagine her as a shy girl, since it took only a few gentle strokes to have her purring, wriggling and stretching her paws in pleasure. Leslie says she's one of those cats who enjoys attention, but doesn't think to put herself forward for it. So if you want to visit a pretty little grey cat who'll love you for it, go and find her in her spot. Who knows, she may even let you catch her performing her special feat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Update: Dell

When we first met Dell back in the spring, he was determined to make sure we were every bit as scared of him as he was of us. His cage even had a sign on it warning "Caution: Attack Cat." We hoped he'd mellow out in time, but knew it would be up to him to decide when and how that might go.

Once Dell had been at the sanctuary long enough to be released from his cave cage, he was moved to one of the back pens where he could hide from us to his heart's content.

The first couple of times I went out there to check on him, he was hiding a bit too effectively, so I wasn't able to get a look at him, let alone a photo, for some months. More recently I've been able to follow his progress through a couple of photos that Phaedra shared on her Facebook page.

Here's one from late November:

"Dell did NOT run out of the hut while cleaning today."
photo and caption from Phaedra

 And one from early December:

"Dell snuggling with friend"
photo and caption from Phaedra

These photos are quite consistent with the results I got with my own camera a couple of weeks later:

OK, so he's still looking at us suspiciously and occasionally having a good old hiss... but he's not freaking out or running away. Baby steps, and all that. Progress is progress.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Update: Pip (formerly Bree)

Many friends of RAPS will remember the sometimes harrowing but ultimately heartwarming story of Bree, the kitten who came to us back in 2009 as one of the "urban barn" cats and won our hearts only to develop life threatening upper respiratory problems caused by nasal polyps. Amazing work was done to raise money to take her to a specialist and have the polyps removed and return this plucky girl to full health.

Our very own Janice provided Bree with her forever home once the little cat was well enough to move in. The first thing Janice needed to do was give Bree a new name, since she had previously adopted a cat from the sanctuary called Breanna. To make matters more confusing, Bree was actually named after this very Breanna because they both had the same big eyes. Obviously, no one anticipated that both cats would end up in the same home! And so Breanna is now Beebers and Bree is now Pip. And Janice is able to stay sane.

I asked Janice to tell us a little about how Pip (formerly Bree) is doing in her forever home. Here's what she had to say:

I was told not to expect an overly affectionate cat when I took Bree (Pip) home because of her tough start to life. She wasn't happy after having all that treatment to save her life. I was ok with that, just wanted her to have a home of her own so that she could feel settled. Once I got her home, however, there was an initial settling in period for my two other cats but Bree was making herself at home straight away. ... she reminds me of a child - all impulse and little thought!!!
She can't stand for me to put anything on counter tops and takes great delight in batting stuff onto the floor at all times of the day and night - consequently my place is always a tripping hazard. I blame the cat for the mess but my friends may disagree with that one!!!! Another way of creating havoc for me it to sit on my bedside table and dip her paw into a small glass bowl that contains my earrings. She dips in, hooks the odd one onto a claw, places it on the table and then bats it into infinity. Hoovering is a bit of a hazard since I brought her home.
 photo by Janice
She came home with me a few months after my first cat Chloe's passing. At first I didn't want another cat to get attached to, another cat to feel so desolate when losing. But I soon noticed that Chloe left a huge gap in my home and heart and needed to offer that to another. I could never replace Chloe but I could expand my heart to include another cat. 

That last point is a tough one that many people who've lost a beloved pet face. It takes a bit to realize that welcoming another pet into your home does not make you unfaithful to the departed, nor does it imply that you think you could replace them. Janice likened it to sisters asking their mother which one of them she loves best and the mother responding that she loves both equally but for different reasons. In the same way, we can love all the cats we've shared our homes and our lives with in different ways without ever choosing one over another.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Bobby is a cat I came across an interacted with numerous times while doing my volunteer shift in the doublewide without knowing anything about him beyond the obvious - he's a big, friendly tuxedo cat who likes to hang out on the tops of the cages and peer over the edge at anyone who might pat (or, even better, feed) him. And then there's those messy, unintentionally well-aimed sneezes you've got to watch out for...

When I asked Leslie about him, it turns out there's not much more story to him that this. He was trapped as a feral kitten and has lived at the sanctuary ever since. Over time he's become pretty tame, but he's also one of those ones who seem to suffer from chronic congestion. More often than not, he looks like he could use a little help with some kleenex. And if you happen to be reaching up to pet him when he starts gearing up to expel some of those pesky nasal deposits, you'd be wise to get out of the way.

Bobby & friend

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Update from Mack Cat

When we first met nice senior gentleman cat Mack back in the spring, we thought for sure he'd be living at the sanctuary for good. We were delighted when a lovely lady named Annette discovered him and decided to open her home to him.

Here is a special update on how Mack is doing in his new home, presented to us by Mr. Mack Cat himself! A big thank you to Annette, his "lady carer," for passing it along for him.
The accompanying photos are provided the lady carer as well.

MEOW!!! I got adopted !!! I,m so happy & so excited , I got a sofa & a king size bed a garden & oohhhh I dont know what else to tell you I got !! But I,d better tell you first what happened , I,m getting my paws in front of my tail !!!
One of the volunteers at RAPS was very concerned about me , as I wasn,t happy at the Sanctuary , they were very nice to me , but I didnt want to be there !! So I stamped my paws & didnt eat much or groom myself & was looking a little raggedy to say the least ! I could tell the volunteer cared about me as she started to come & see me every day , which was lovely -- I felt very special . After all , it,s not very nice having a notice on your cage saying you will be there forever !
One day she came with a man & put me in one of those boxes they carry you around in & put me in the car with them & we went for a ride . I thought I was going home with them so was very well behaved !! But we went to the cat doctors & they left me there !!!!! I must confess I was a bit scared then . I must have gone to sleep for a while cause when I woke up I didnt have any more knotted fur !! It felt very comfortable .
The man & lady returned & took me for a car ride again , I didnt dare guess where we were going this time !
We went into a house & they opened the carrying box for me to get out , I saw a sofa which looked very comfy , so I immediately jumped on it ( ignoring my basket they had bought from RAPS for me !) . Since then I have been jumping on sofas , jumping on beds , walking in the garden , being a picky eater & all those things cats do when they have a furever home .
My fur has grown back nicely now & I groom myself & am looking very handsome . I,ve got a furever home . What every cat should have ! Meow !!! I,ve even got a Facebook page !!! If you want to see how I, m doing, check me out ----Mack Cat !!

Friday, December 2, 2011


After meeting Fiona and Schatze, I was eager to meet their brother, Miller.

Debbie described him to me as still feral and listed "climbing the fence in the courtyard" as a pastime he seems to favor. Leslie added her discovery that while he looks scared, he actually enjoys it when she pets him. He also likes cuddling up with his buddy Morgan.

When Debbie and Leslie found Miller so they could introduce him to me on night, he was busy with his face in a nice big plate of wet food, so I didn't get to see his fence-climbing side or his being petted side. He was so involved in enjoying his dinner that he wasn't even interested in looking up so I could get a picture of him that wouldn't just look like any random tuxedo cat eating.

By the time we finally got his attention, he'd had quite enough of us invading his space and scooted off out the cat door. Leslie had a good laugh seeing me zip out the people door and down the stairs in hot pursuit, but I knew if I let him disappear into the dark courtyard without having gotten more than the briefest glance at his face, I'd never manage to find him again on my own.

Luckily for me, Miller didn't go very far and even let me take a few photos before he'd had enough of me and my camera flash. As for petting, maybe better luck next time.